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How to mark Remembrance Sunday in and around Cambridge amid lockdown

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Your guide to the various - mainly online - events taking place across the county to mark this year's Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

Dolly Theis in the Grand Arcade, where the Cambridge branch of the British Legion were selling poppies before lockdown. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dolly Theis in the Grand Arcade, where the Cambridge branch of the British Legion were selling poppies before lockdown. Picture: Keith Heppell


The Mayor of Cambridge, Cllr Russ McPherson, is participating in two events to mark Remembrance Sunday this year, both of which will be broadcast to the public.

This Sunday (November 8), the mayor will give a reading during the county, city and University of Cambridge’s annual service of remembrance and reconciliation.

The service, which has been pre-recorded, will be streamed from 10.15am on the Great St Mary’s Church Facebook page: facebook.com/GreatStMarys/ and on Youtube at youtu.be/myDDs1QVVLc.

From 10.30am on Sunday, the mayor will join a small number of representatives from different organisations, including the armed forces, for a service at the war memorial on Hills Road which will be broadcast live on Cambridge 105 radio (cambridge105.co.uk). This service will not be open to the public.

Remembrance Day from a previous year at the war memorial on Hills Road, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Remembrance Day from a previous year at the war memorial on Hills Road, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Both services will be paused at 11am for a two-minutes silence, which will be observed across the country. The mayor will also be observing a two-minute silence at The Guildhall from 11am on Wednesday, November 11, in the company of the mayoress and the deputy mayor.

Cllr McPherson said: “Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown, we will be marking Remembrance Sunday in a different way this year, but it will still be my great honour to represent the city of Cambridge on this solemn occasion.

“I do hope that people tune in to the online service or the radio broadcast, to join me in remembering the sacrifices made by so many of their fellow Cambridge residents in two world wars and in other conflicts since then.”

Remembrance Day from a previous year at the war memorial on Hills Road, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Remembrance Day from a previous year at the war memorial on Hills Road, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Churches across the county have also adapted their plans for Sunday. St John the Evangelist’s Church, Cambridge, for example, has already produced an online Act of Remembrance.

Pre-recorded by the St John’s Choir before lockdown was announced, the choir sang the anthem Greater love hath no man than this, while names of the war dead from St John’s Hills Road parish were read out.

A 15-minute Act of Remembrance, led by the Revd James Shakespeare, is also being shared with schools and colleges. It is available for anyone to view online at youtube.com/watch?v=-QJgRdj6fC4&t=7s.

Revd Shakespeare said: “We wanted Remembrance to be accessible to a wide audience, so we’d already planned it – it’s a wonderful resource for people.”


A giant poppy is to be projected onto the front of Ely Cathedral as part of the commemorations for Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day this year.

The installation will be lit from 6pm this Sunday (November 8) to Armistice Day evening on Wednesday (November 11).

The Dean of Ely, the Very Revd Mark Bonney, said “Despite having to be closed for worship at such a significant time, we hope this will be a beacon of light within the community to remind everyone of those who gave their lives, and continue to do so, in times of conflict and war."

In addition, Ely Cathedral will be live streaming its service of thanksgiving for Remembrance Sunday on Sunday at 10.30am.

In line with the new government restrictions, the service will be held without a congregation but in the presence of cathedral clergy, the choir, liturgical staff, a Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Chris Parkhouse and the High Sheriff, Brigadier Tim Seal.

Poppies at Ely Cathedral. Picture: Andrew Sharpe
Poppies at Ely Cathedral. Picture: Andrew Sharpe

The Bishop of Huntingdon, the Rt Revd Dr Dagmar Winter, will preach at the service, which will include the traditional act of commemoration and the two-minute silence. Only those required for the service will be permitted inside the cathedral on the day.

Canon Jim Garrard, Canon Precentor at Ely, said: "Like everyone else, we have had to quickly revise our plans. We have very strong connections with the armed forces in this area and it is important we do our very best to enable everyone within our community to commemorate such a significant event in our history and give thanks to the sacrifices of so many.”

Directly following the service, members of the cathedral clergy, including the Dean of Ely and a bugler, will join those gathered at the War Memorial in Ely for prayers and the Last Post.

On the same day at 4pm, a special Evensong will be broadcast live from the cathedral. The music will be provided by the Cathedral Choir.

For information and details of how to access the live stream services, visit elycathedral.org/public-worship/live-streamed-services-concerts.

South Cambridgeshire

Most events in South Cambridgeshire appear to be online only, with members of the public being "discouraged" from attending the wreath laying.

A statement on IWM Duxford's website, for example, read: "In light of the latest government guidance on social distancing, IWM Duxford will not be holding its usual service on Remembrance Sunday this year.

"Instead, we will be encouraging visitors to mark Remembrance with a two-minute silence and by visiting our exhibitions and exploring our permanent collections. A short flying display by a Mk1 Spitfire will also take place on Remembrance Sunday."

Remembrance Day, 'Lest we forget'
Remembrance Day, 'Lest we forget'

Over in Cottenham, an online Remembrance service has been arranged for residents to ‘attend’ from home. The service will commence at 10.56am and the two-minute silence will be observed - on your doorstep, if you wish - at 11am as part of the service.

The service can be uploaded on the morning of Remembrance Sunday and will be available on the All Saints Cottenham website (allsaintscottenham.org.uk), plus the Parish Council, Cottenham, Cottenham Local and Rampton Facebook pages. Wreaths will still be laid at the memorial but spaced throughout the day.

Check your local church's website - or call - for more details.

The Poppy Appeal 2020

Volunteers have been stepping forward – but not too close – to sell poppies across the city.

Among the volunteers at the Grand Arcade last weekend, before the second lockdown started, was Dolly Theis, a Poppy Appeal ambassador who is studying for a Phd in epidemiology at the University of Cambridge, specialising in how governments handle pandemics.

Dolly, who has been volunteering for 12 years, said: “We were so worried that we wouldn’t be able to sell any poppies this year, and a lot of people have been coming to the stall saying exactly the same thing, that they’re so thrilled that we were able to.

“So it’s been amazing to still sell them at this time and keep that going and not let it slip a year, even under exceptional circumstances.”

Alan Scott, the Royal British Legion county chairman for Cambridgeshire, said that donations to the Poppy Appeal can be made online, at britishlegion.org.uk, and added: “We’ve actually got a downloadable poppy, which you can print out on A4 paper.

"There’s one that’s already coloured in and we also do a blank one which kids can colour in.

“It’s free to download but we do encourage people to make a donation. They can download the poppy and stick it in their window to show that they remember.”

Another idea, not from the British Legion, is for children to paint a poppy on a pebble, and then either lay it outside their house or around a war memorial.

Read more:

A written remembrance of Grantchester villagers killed in WWI

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