In common with the rest of the nation, Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day commemorations in public will be minimised this year with people in Orkney encouraged to “Remember at Home” instead.
Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and in light of the risks posed, the annual Remembrance Sunday parade in Kirkwall will not take place this year.
However, on Remembrance Sunday 8 November there will be a wreath laying service involving a number of different organisations at the Kirkwall and St Ola War Memorial on Broad Street and observation of the national two-minute silence. Social distancing will be practised by all involved.
President of the Kirkwall Branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, Eddy Ross, said he recognised that this will be disappointing for all who were due to take part, and stressed that the national decision had not been taken lightly.
“This decision has been taken by the Government based on expert advice to protect the health and well-being of those who would have been travelling to and participating in the events.
“Despite the changes this year, we are encouraging people to ensure Remembrance Sunday is still marked appropriately by ‘Remembering at Home’, whether that is watching the national service on television or pausing for the two-minute silence inside or on your doorsteps. Many children are being encouraged to draw or make poppies to place in their windows in remembrance.”
Orkney Islands Council Convener Councillor Harvey Johnston will be laying a wreath on behalf of the OIC.
“We have not forgotten the sacrifices made and we will not forget, Councillor Johnston said.
While unfortunate, he said the decision taken was vital to protect the safety of the public during these difficult times.
“We recognise that many will wish to pay their respects, but we ask that this is done in tandem with the Scottish Government guidance and to avoid crowded places and to keep everyone safe by ‘Remembering at Home’.
“We all know the sacrifices made by our past and present Armed Forces and must never forget what so many gave up, to ensure those who followed have been allowed to enjoy their freedom.
“It is vital that we all do our bit to protect the NHS and the best way to do this is to try and curtail the spread of the virus. It is for these reasons that the Council would encourage people to commemorate the Remembrance at home.”
Poppy collecting tins are available for donations in participating outlets across Orkney, however folk are asked to continue with their generosity in donating to the Poppy Scotland Appeal if they so wish at www.poppyscotland.org.uk which will go towards raising vital funds to assist veterans.