Major Remembrance parade is saved

A much-loved Remembrance parade has been saved thanks to the combined efforts of church staff, councillors and police.

St Faith’s Church in Gaywood hosts the ward’s annual event, but it was cancelled last year due to relevant event safety measures not being organised in time.

Writing for the Lynn News last week, West Norfolk borough councillor Charles Joyce suggested that it had been called off because Norfolk Police would not support it – arguing that officers were being “forced to turn their backs on ordinary people – people who are showing their respects to the Fallen”.

A previous Remembrance parade in Gaywood – an event that has now been saved
A previous Remembrance parade in Gaywood – an event that has now been saved

However, it has now been confirmed that this was not the case and police will indeed attend – although local councillors have still had to dip into their funds to help get the parade back up and running.

It will have to be supported by accredited traffic management officers because police can only put road closures in place for “emergencies”, and so Gaywood’s eight ward councillors will spend £138.75 each from their £1,000 community grant funds to foot the bill.

Rev Kyla Sørensen, the Team Rector at St Faith’s, said: “St Faith’s has a good working relationship with the police, who have been extremely supportive in finding the best way forward for the Remembrance event to go ahead safely.

“Our Gaywood councillors fully understand the importance of this event to our people and have been only too happy to help. It is the only major annual civic event that happens in Gaywood and is an opportunity for all of the churches to come together with the wider community for whom the occasion is very important.

“With the help and support of all involved, we will be able to parade from St Faith’s Church to the memorial to pay our respects to the Fallen.

“In working together for the good of the local people, the church, police and councillors have found a positive solution that means the event can happen safely and respectfully.”

A West Norfolk Council spokesperson told the Lynn News that staff at the church got in touch to seek help in plugging a “funding shortfall” for this year’s Remembrance event, which will take place in November.

The council only supports the event at Tower Gardens in Lynn, with all others in the borough organised or supported by town and parish councils.

As Gaywood is unparished, it would be considered by the Lynn Area Consultative Committee to determine if it wanted to provide annual funding to support the event through special expenses – a process that would form part of the annual budget-setting process.

This would ensure that the support is in line with other Remembrance events across the borough, but would not have resolved the shortfall for this year. The council’s chief executive therefore emailed the eight Gaywood councillors to see if they would be prepared to offer support.

All agreed, with some stating that they think formal funding should be secured for future years. The Gaywood parade will cost £1,110.

A Norfolk Police spokesperson told the Lynn News: “We will still have a police presence at the event and have been involved in regular partnership meetings with St Faith’s Church organising the Remembrance parade and local councillors.

“Last year the parade was focused at the church but this year councillors were keen for it to be held at Gaywood Clock Tower which would require a road closure.

“Police powers require road closures only in the event of an emergency and as the parade does not fit these parameters the councillors have decided to have accredited traffic management officers in place. We continue to work with all partners to ensure the event is safe and successful.”