The town’s mayor has confirmed the decision has been taken not to arrange a formal procession through the town honouring fallen war heroes on November 11 – because officials didn’t want children to go hungry or get cold.
Councillor John Brady said there were lots happening to honour the military on the day already.
The ex-serviceman said a Remembrance Service at The Church of St Nicholas and St Faith had been timed for 2pm to accommodate youngsters taking part in a planned pebble laying event commemorating the First World War earlier in the day.
Cllr Brady said any parade would have had to be squeezed in late afternoon – which wouldn’t have been fair on families.
It comes after rumours circulated online that the annual parade – a crowd pleaser during the commemorations – would not go ahead this year.
A petition has been launched in a bid to pressure authorities into organising one.
Asked why a parade had not been planned, Cllr Brady said: “Lots of events are going on during the day; lots of events.
“For the record, I have served 23 years in the Royal Navy.
“There is a pebble laying, to mark the First World War centenary, not arranged by the town council.
“That’s going on from 11.45am to 12.30pm. (We have to take) into consideration, the children that will be out for most of the day, there will be lots of children around, it could be a very long and cold day.
“There are 141 pebbles to be laid; each child will come forward with a pebble; a minute per child to do it properly.
“The civic service is at 2pm and there’s probably no time for children to have a hot meal during those events.”
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Cllr Brady – who says the Royal British Legion organise the parade – explained how the decision was reached.
“I had a meeting two weeks ago, with the vicar (of St Nicholas andSt Faith) Cathy Sigrist, the president of the Royal British Legion and the chair of the Royal Naval Association in as far as we implemented the particulars for the civil service – nothing else.
“The church service this year would be held at The Church of St Nicholas and St Faith; it has the town memorial in its gardens.
“So we will have the service at 2pm. That will last an hour and 10 minutes – then we will go outside, lay wreaths and proceed back.
“(It was decided) The Royal British Legion would not hold a parade – and that was it. So those are the facts.
“At this present moment in time, no (it won’t be going ahead),” Cllr Brady added.
He said it would be too late now to do anything because ‘street closures’ hadn’t been authorised.
The Royal British Legion meanwhile has disputed who was responsible for not making arrangements to put on a remembrance parade.
Dave Newman, Chairman of Saltash & District Royal British Legion, wrote on Facebook: “We would like to point out that the Mayor Councillor John Brady has decreed that there will be NO Parade this year on the afternoon of the 11th November.
“The Saltash & District branch of the Royal British Legion do not organise the Parade. It is purely a Civic event. The Church Service and Parade are organised by the Mayor – and the Mayor alone.
“All invitations are sent out from the Mayor’s office.
“The only input that the Saltash & District Royal British Legion have for this event is the provision of the Parade Marshall – ably done for the past 25 years by Mr W Dent – President of the Branch.”
People have vented their fury on Facebook over the decision not to organise a parade.
Julie Dingle said: “I’m sorry but come on Saltash people, this is terrible?
“It’s such an important year! Let’s make some noise and our feelings known? We need to show some respect and that’s not happening???”
Richard Fry said: “Can’t believe on the centenary year there won’t be a parade of remembrance through the town!!”
Debbie Harbon said: “What an absolute insult to the people of Saltash to be unable to remember those brave people who gave their lives so that we may have ours.”