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Virtual Tributes Planned to Remember the Fallen

South Tyneside is set to commemorate Remembrance this year with virtual tributes to the Armed Forces past and present.

In line with national guidance to limit the spread of coronavirus and concerns about managing event safety, the hugely popular annual parades and services that are traditionally held in the Borough on Remembrance Sunday have been stood down this year.

Instead, residents and veterans are being encouraged to pay their respects at home, by observing the national two-minutes silence and following special local tributes to be streamed on the Council's social media channels, at 11am, on Sunday 8 November and on Armistice Day - Wednesday 11 November.

This is in addition to the national service, which will be broadcast on TV and radio at 11am on Sunday 8 November.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick - a veteran himself - said: "We are extremely proud of our Armed Forces past and present and always place our veterans and military personnel at the heart of our commemorations.

"Sadly, it is simply not possible to deliver our traditional remembrance events in line with current Government Covid safety guidance. We understand many people will be disappointed, but the safety of our residents, visitors, military personnel, veterans and their families, are our main priority right now. They must be protected, particularly at this crucial stage in the pandemic.

"Although, we are not holding any physical public events, we will still mark this very special occasion and are urging people to get involved safely by observing a two minutes' silence on their doorstep, in their garden or in the home.

"For those who have internet access, the Council will screen virtual tributes online. The national service will also be broadcast on TV and radio.

"We can all take the opportunity to tune in to TV or radio, or connect online, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by such brave service men and women, while showing support for our Armed Forces community."

A virtual service and short films, featuring community and armed forces representatives and wreaths being laid at Borough war memorials, will be streamed on the Council's Facebook and Twitter social media pages.

Members of the public will be encouraged to join in the two-minutes silences at 11am on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day as well as leave messages, memories and pictures of poppy window displays on social media.

Flags will fly at half-mast over South Shields Town Hall, which will be lit red to remember the sacrifices of Armed Forces personnel. Wreaths will be laid at each memorial privately.

Councillor Ed Malcolm, Chairman of South Tyneside Armed Forces Forum, said: "Despite the very difficult circumstances we all find ourselves in, it is only right that we continue to pay our respects on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, albeit in a different way.

"Remembrance is one of the most important and poignant events in the South Tyneside calendar as we honour all those who served their country and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

"As a Borough we can still unite to remember the fallen and give thanks to our veterans and those in active service. We hope that people will join us in our online commemorations and observe the two-minute silence in tribute to our armed forces heroes."

Members of the public wishing to lay a wreath or place a cross at Borough cenotaphs are encouraged to do so over the course of the weekend, avoiding 11am on Remembrance Sunday.

For further information about the latest government restrictions and advice regarding social gatherings visit www.gov.uk. Details of local restrictions are available on the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus

Residents are encouraged to follow South Tyneside Council's social media channels to share Remembrance activities and celebrations on Facebook STynesideCouncil and LoveSTyneside and on Twitter @STyne_Council and @LoveSTyneside.

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