The Royal British Legion has vowed to host its own ‘shortened’ Remembrance Day parade after a Labour-run council axed the annual fixture over ‘health and safety considerations’ stemming from an accident involving a veteran five years ago.
Barry Town Council in South Wales cancelled the traditional march in a ‘difficult decision’ that came about ‘due to health and safety challenges which cannot be overcome at this late stage’.
However, the Barry branch of the Royal British Legion, which usually attends and supports the council-organised event, says it will step up and host its own parade instead ahead of the civic service/
Council leader Bronwen Brooks said that she was ‘saddened’ to have to call off the council’s own service, but said the welfare of participants and spectators had to be ‘prioritised’.
But Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies blasted the ‘feeble excuse’ and claimed the council had paid about £8,000 towards a Pride event earlier this year.
The Remembrance Sunday service at Barry in South Wales is pictured in November last year
Barry Town Council leader Bronwen Brooks said a decision was made to cancel the parade
Army veteran Ade Stowell (pictured) suffered serious head injuries when he was hit by a car while marshalling the Studley Remembrance Sunday parade in Warwickshire in 2018
Royal British Legion Barry vice chair Teresa Goodwin told MailOnline: ‘Whilst Barry Town Council is no longer delivering Barry’s Remembrance parade, we are looking forward to welcoming the Armed Forces community in Barry to a shortened parade and Cenotaph service in the grounds of Barry Memorial Hall at 10.15am on Sunday, November 12.
‘This will then be followed by a special service, entitled “Our Young People – The Future of Remembrance”, inside the Memo Arts Centre, featuring veterans, standard bearers, flag bearers and local youth groups.
Who is responsible for the organisation of Remembrance services and parades in Britain?
The Royal British Legion had been responsible for Remembrance parades until 2019 when local authorities took on extra responsibilities.
This followed an incident in November 2018 when Army veteran Ade Stowell suffered serious head injuries when he was hit by a car while marshalling the Studley Remembrance Sunday parade in Warwickshire.
The Royal British Legion advises that there is no specific legislation outlining who is responsible for the delivery of parades or services, unlike the maintenance of war memorials.
However, in keeping with other civic occasions, the Legion states that local authorities should be responsible for the delivery of parades and services – meaning they must assume official ‘event organiser’ status on relevant event documents. If the Legion did have such a designation, it said this would bring with it responsibilities and liabilities for which it is not covered.
‘Following the indoor service there will be light refreshments and drinks available. All are welcome to attend, and the Royal British Legion’s Barry branch look forward to commemorating remembrance with those in the local community and beyond.’
The council said the Royal British Legion had been responsible for parades until 2019 when it recommended that local authorities take on additional responsibilities.
This followed an incident in November 2018 when Army veteran Ade Stowell was hit by a car at a parade in Studley, Warwickshire, leaving him with serious head injuries.
Ms Brooks said: ‘Barry Town Council is committed to providing a Remembrance Service for the people of Barry and honouring those who gave their lives for us and our freedom.
‘We have worked with Royal British Legion for many years to create a lovely service and will continue to do so, where we are able.
‘We are saddened to have to cancel the parade for 2023, but due to unresolved health and safety considerations, we have to prioritise the safety of the groups, pedestrians, veterans, emergency services, children and staff.
‘Hopefully, Royal British Legion and Barry Town Council can work together on these issues next year.’
Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies, however, hit out at the council for its ‘shameful’ decision.
He tweeted: ‘Barry Town Council’s decision to cancel this year’s Remembrance Sunday parade is shameful.
‘And their feeble excuses don’t wash. The council could and should have taken all necessary steps to make the usual parade happen.’
Prior to announcing its own reduced parade, the Royal British Legion confirmed it did not take the decision to cancel the event.
A spokesperson said: ‘Local Remembrance services and parades are civic functions that are attended and supported by the Royal British Legion.
‘Whilst we are happy to be consulted and provide assistance to organisers, the Legion is not responsible for, nor takes any final decisions regarding the delivery of these events.’
The Cenotaph in Barry was opened in November 1932 having initially been built to remember those from the town who had died in the First World War.
Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew RT Davies blasted the ‘feeble excuse’
This year’s outdoor event will be led by Father Chris Seaton, chaplain to the Royal British Legion, and a wreath laying will take place at 10.45am.
There will then be a Service of Remembrance and a two-minute silence to be observed at 11am.
Following this, there will be an indoor service at the Memo Arts Centre which the council said would include ‘songs, readings and light refreshments’.
A council spokesman added: ‘Barry Town Council will remain committed to supporting local events, community groups and businesses as always; having supported Cadstock, Glastonbarry, Elderly Christmas Meals, Barry Pride, Halloween Trick or Treat Trail and Easter Trail, just to name a few.
‘There will continue to be a priority for partnership working and all efforts will be made to work together with Royal British Legion for Remembrance Sunday in 2024.
‘Each year, Barry Town Council and the Royal British Legion are so thankful for the public support at the Remembrance Sunday Service and hope that this support continues, as we remember together those who gave up their today for our tomorrow.’