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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

New national restrictions are in place. Make sure you know what to do to Protect Portsmouth.

Residents in Portsmouth are being invited to mark Remembrance Sunday, 8 November, by joining Portsmouth City Council in a service of remembrance via a live-streamed video on Portsmouth Cathedral’s Facebook page and Portsmouth City Council’s Facebook page.

By sharing the service online, Portsmouth City Council aims to help people mark remembrance with a moment of reflection at home this year in order to protect residents and limit the spread of coronavirus. The service, which will be attended by an invited guest list of veterans associations, military, youth organisation and multi-faith representatives, will be streamed from 10.55am on Sunday 8 November.

Residents can also join together in solidarity with the armed forces community by displaying a poppy in their window. This could be a traditional Royal British Legion paper poppy, a homemade poppy, a coloured-in poppy or a printed picture. There are pictures of poppies available to download and print from the Royal British Legion website.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, comments: “Portsmouth is a military city. Even though there are restrictions this year we thought it was essential that there was a service to commemorate the sacrifice of so many, but it is right that with limited space veterans take priority over the great and the good.

“We’ll also find new ways to join together as a city, as we do all we can to protect each other, and especially the most vulnerable in our community, from the spread of coronavirus. I’d encourage as many people as possible to join the service of remembrance online, share a memory of someone who served, or display a poppy in your home.”

The Very Reverend Dr Anthony Cane, Dean of Portsmouth, said: “Remembrance Sunday is always a moving and important event for Portsmouth and our nation, all the more so this year, 75 years after VE Day and VJ Day. Given that the usual Guildhall Square event cannot take place because of Covid-19, it is a privilege for Portsmouth Cathedral to host a service to pay tribute to those who have given their lives in the service of their country. I hope you can join us online as a wide range of civic, military and multi-faith representatives gather to remember, give thanks, and pray, as well as commit ourselves to working for a brighter future.”

Residents are being asked to consider how they can mark the occasion differently this year to avoid people gathering together, but those who wish to lay a wreath at the cenotaph or put a cross in the Garden of Remembrance will be able to do so. On Remembrance Sunday, social distancing measures and a one-way queuing system will be in place in Guildhall Square. Visitors to the cenotaph will be encouraged to wear face coverings.

Tributes to those who have served can also be shared by writing a letter of remembrance. These letters will be taken to the cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, before being donated to Portsmouth City Council’s museums and archives team, which is collecting items that tell the stories of the city during the coronavirus pandemic. Residents can email: events@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or write to:

Letters of Remembrance

Portsmouth City Council Events

5th Floor Civic Offices

Portsmouth

PO1 2AL

Service of Remembrance – 8 November

On Sunday 8 November, the service of remembrance will be led by the Anglican Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, and the Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth, the Rt Rev Philip Egan. Readings will be given by the Lord Mayor as well as representatives of Portsmouth’s Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities.

Music will be provided by the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir and musicians from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines.

To comply with coronavirus safety measures and government guidelines, this year’s service will be limited to an invited guest list of military and city representatives, including representatives of all the veterans associations, armed forces, military and youth organisations, and multi-faith groups that usually take part in Portsmouth’s remembrance parade.

Wreaths will be laid at the Cathedral by Deputy Lieutenant, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, the Lord Mayor and representatives from the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Fleet Auxiliary. These will be moved to the cenotaph in Guildhall Square following the service.

A picture gallery of wreaths and crosses will be made available on Portsmouth City Council’s website after Remembrance Sunday. Residents will also be able to read personal testimonies and memories from veterans and those who have taken part in previous Remembrance Sunday events in Portsmouth.

Armistice Day – 11 November

To commemorate Armistice Day on the 11 November, Reverend Canon Bob White, the Lord Mayor and the Chairman of the Portsmouth South branch of the Royal British Legion will pre-record a short service at the Gardens of Remembrance. A video of the service will be shared with local veterans associations as well as streamed via Portsmouth City Council’s YouTube channel and on the council’s Facebook page on 11 November. The video will also be available on Portsmouth City Council’s website. The two minutes silence at 11am will also be observed across the city.

For up-to-date information about Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day in Portsmouth visit www.portsmouth.gov.uk/remembrance2020