Legion marches into parade row

Biggleswade Remembrance Service, Market Square November 2011 ENGPNL00420111114151213
Biggleswade Remembrance Service, Market Square November 2011 ENGPNL00420111114151213

A decision to restrict marchers for Biggleswade’s annual Remembrance day parade to groups connected to the armed forces has caused anger in the town.

The parade this year will have more than 70 members of the armed forces marching.

So the Biggleswade Royal British Legion has decided to restrict those taking part in the march to soldiers and the various cadet groups in the town.

Groups such as the Scouts and Guides will now gather at the Market Square for the traditonal service.

A statement from the Legion this week said: “Unfortunately, for a number of planning reasons, only the following groups will participate in the march: Detachment 56 Royal Artillery, Intelligence Corp Chicksands, Sea Cadets and Band Air Cadets, Army Cadets, British Legion members and Standard Bearers.

“The Units who would normally take part in the march are asked to assemble at 10.15 am in the Market Square.”

But the decision has not gone down well with the organisations.

Alex Hough said: “No Scouts, no Guides, no Brownies, no Cubs. A 100% total disgrace and an insult not only to the many childrens organisations who have participated in past Remembrance Sundays but also to our fallen heroes. What do-gooders thought of this. I personally take great pride in attending our Market Square Remembrance Day but sadly I find this decision a tragedy and a disgrace to Biggleswade.

And Julie Bean said: “As an Ex-Member of the RAF and one half of the District Commisioner team for Biggleswade Guiding, we are saddened and disappointed in this decision.”

But George Wilson, President of the Biggleswade RBL said the decision had been taken on safety grounds.

He said it was right members of the armed forces should be encouraged to take part and he was proud that around 70 would be marching.

He added this created issues over how fast they marched compared with younger groups and there were also safety concerns around serving members of the armed forces.

“We have managed to increase the number of attenders and attendees from the opublic,” he said. Around 3,000 people are exoected to attend.

“We understand their disappointment but this is a local decision because so many soliders are taking part.”

And he urged people to get involved with their British legion.

“We are all getting old,” he said, “and branches are closing quicker than public houses.

“We are trying to engage new members to heklp with such things as th Popppy Appeal.”

The event is at Biggleswade on November 8 with the service starting at 10.45am.