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Remembrance Day to go ahead despite pandemic

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Wreaths at the base of the Cenotaph for Remembrance Day (File photograph)

Remembrance Day commemorations to honour the sacrifice of Bermuda’s Armed Services personnel will go ahead this year despite Covid-19.

The traditional November 11 ceremony will be held with strict coronavirus precautions in force.

But the usual lunch for veterans and their families, which follows the wreath-laying at the Cenotaph on Front Street, was cancelled on health and safety grounds.

Carol Everson, a caseworker with the Bermuda Legion, said it would be business as usual for the charity’s tag day on November 4 and poppies and wreaths would be on sale as normal.

Ms Everson said the tag day would be run with “strict guidelines”.

Volunteers will collect donations at a distance, and the poppies handed over without personal contact.

Ms Everson said: “Our first aim is to protect our remaining war veterans and widows, because they are precious and elderly – their median age is 90 and their needs are more acute.”

The Bermuda Legion, which offers year-round support, said it had about 140 clients.

But Ms Everson added: “We’re constantly finding new people.

“Last year we found a man who served in the North African campaign of the Second World War.

“He now has a war pension, which is incredible help because he now has dementia. The pension helped him get a place at Westmeath care home.”

Ms Everson said she hoped to have the poppy shop open at Gateway Systems on Queen Street in Hamilton by today.

Along with poppies and wreaths, the shop will sell Bermuda Legion poppy-themed clothing, such as T-shirts, sweat shirts and hoodies.

She recommended that visitors to the shop, or people with special orders, poppy boxes or wreaths should call 703-1020 in advance.

Volunteers to help staff the shop were asked to call the same number.

Ms Everson said the legion was available to give advice and help on housing and to connect veterans and their families with the charity’s affiliates overseas.

These include the Royal Canadian Legion and the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Service League in London, which allows island veterans and widows in financial need to apply for a small extra pension.

She said the league had pledged £4 million to the Caribbean region for clients in extra need over the pandemic, which the Bermuda Legion hoped to get a share of.

Ms Everson added the legion’s long-term goal was to build a dementia care centre to house veterans and their widows.

She said: “We have offers of land and people in England who would take on the design in a shot, but we will need funds enough to build a designated nursing home – which we estimate would cost up to $9 million.”

The group is also carrying out virtual fundraising as part of this year’s appeal, through HSBC account 010731354001.

The Bermuda Legion can also be contacted at PO Box 454, Flatts FLBX, or at nosoldierleftbehind@hotmail.com.

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Published October 15, 2020 at 11:57 am (Updated October 15, 2020 at 5:56 pm)

Remembrance Day to go ahead despite pandemic

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