Remembrance row in Aldeburgh

A CHURCH service was boycotted in Aldeburgh yesterdayby members of various organisations in protest at the alterations to the traditional commemorations for Remembrance Day.

By Richard Smith

A CHURCH service was boycotted in Aldeburgh yesterdayby members of various organisations in protest at the alterations to the traditional commemorations for Remembrance Day.

Some people also refused to take vouchers for free drinks after the well-attended ceremony at the war memorial by the Moot Hall.

Disgruntled residents urged the town council and the parish church to return to the traditional form of commemorations in which there is a short service at the war memorial and then a parade up to the parish church to join the church service, which had already started.


You may also want to watch:


Yesterday there was a church service at 9.40am and then people started gathering at the war memorial at 10.30am. The war memorial service finished after 11am.

Meetings were held between the town council and the vicar Nigel Hartley to agree this year's format. Lat year there was criticism that the church had tried to take control of a secular event and the format of the commemorations had not been popular.

Most Read

John Storey, chairman of the Royal British Legion, said: ''There was a compromise this year which really does not suit either side, I think, and it is still not want the town wants.

“Traditionally we are at the war memorial at 11am and then go to church - and that is what we want.''

Coastguards in the town refused to attend the church service. Charlie Walker, a coastguard, said: ''We want to go back to the traditional way. It worked for years, why change it?

“We lost 1,500 coastguards in one day in the First World War and this is nothing to do with the church, it is an act of remembrance.”

The lifeboat crew was also unhappy with yesterday's events and the crew did not attend as an organisation at the church service.

The Archdeacon of Suffolk, the ven Geoffrey Arrand, preached at the church service. He denied that the church had taken over Remembrance Day in Aldeburgh.

''The order of service has been devised by churches together in this country with the cooperation and approval of the Royal British Legion.

''In the past it was appalling liturgy. You can not have people coming into a service half way through. I would not countenance that.”

Rev Hartley added: “The tradition in Aldeburgh is eccentric because it was the only place in the country that had done it that way.

“To say it is the right way because it was always done this way is a bad judgement.

''This is about a minority of people who need to move onwards and to take seriously what we are trying to do.”

Celia Leggett, town mayor, said feedback would be obtained from the public and a meeting would be held to assess it.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter