Pensioner saddened by wreath ban
A PENSIONER who served with the Royal Navy in the Second World War has been banned from laying a wreath at a remembrance service because he is a member of a political party.
A PENSIONER who served with the Royal Navy in the Second World War has been banned from laying a wreath at a Remembrance Day service because he is a member of a political party.
Philip Greengrass, who lives in Felixstowe, was told by the town council that because he is part of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) he will not be able to join the ceremony on Sunday.
Mr Greengrass said when he asked if he could lay a wreath during the service he was told that it was policy that no political parties were allowed to take part.
The 80-year-old said he has been left saddened by the town council's view as it was preventing those who served in the armed forces to pay their respects to friends and loved ones.
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“I am not angry about it, just very sad because it is difficult to understand,” he said. “I served in the forces during the Second World War and to be told that I am not allowed to put a wreath on the local memorial is outrageous.
“At one time I thought I would just have to keep out the way and be quiet but I think it's wrong because there is no reason why any group - whether it is a bridge club, football club, school or political party - shouldn't be allowed to pay their respects.
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“The memorial doesn't belong to the town council it belongs to the people of Felixstowe and it's not right that they chose to exclude us in this way.”
Mr Greengrass, who worked on cable ships laying lead pipes across the Channel during the Second World War to keep the allied forces supplied with petrol, said he was able to take part in last year's service without any problems.
“I've been able to lay a wreath in the past without any difficulty but this time around things are different,” he said. “Many people who are members of political parties will have served with the armed forces or have friends that will have done so and it is a chance for them to pay their respects.
“Unfortunately this opportunity has been taken away and it is a real shame. As yet I don't know their reasons but I expect it is in the interest of political correctness and they don't want to offend anybody.”
Susan Robinson, Felixstowe town clerk, confirmed it was tradition that no political parties were allowed to lay a wreath during the memorial service.
“It is custom and tradition that it is not a political occasion,” she said. “Unfortunately I think last year when Mr Greengrass was able to lay a wreath we were not aware of what was happening.”