March remembers its fallen with trimmed back covid safe ceremony
A small but respectful ceremony marked the annual Remembrance Day commemorations in March on Sunday.
Normally the town centre would be packed with thousands of residents present to witness what is reputed to be one of the largest Remembrance Day parades in the county.
This year covid-19 restrictions meant a very different scene as the town remembered its fallen.
A parade of just five made up of mayor Kim French, Parade Marshal Nigel 'Spence' Spencer, Brian Gowler, president of March Royal British Legion, bugler Nigel Sutterby and the Rev Andrew smith. marked the sombre occasion.
Around 100 people stood socially distanced in Broad Street to witness the ceremony, many of them evidently ex-service personnel with their medals proudly pinned to their chests.
One man explained he had ignored requests to people to stay home and mark Remembrance on their own doorsteps because he said: "I have only missed about three Remembrance Sundays in the last 60 odd years and I felt I wanted to be here again this year despite everything that's going on."
Only one wreath was laid this year and that was by Coun French on behalf of the town council. Other wreath layers were invited to lay their tributes separately with a request for people to leave them in the grounds of St Peter's Church, to be collected and transported to the war memorial by volunteers.
Rev Smith conducted a brief service while Mr Gowler said the Kohima Epitaph and the whole proceedings were streamed live on social media.
Buglers were positioned around March and played the 'Last Post' on the first strike of the Town Hall clock then 'Reveille' led by Nigel Sutterby at the war memorial. The locations of the buglers and escorts were at St Peter's Church; West End Park; and Elwyn Road.