Hoyland Remembrance Day parade saved at eleventh hour

Barnsley East MP MIchael Dugher.
Barnsley East MP MIchael Dugher.
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A Remembrance Day parade which had to be shortened after police withdrew staff due to budget cuts will now go ahead - after a private traffic company stepped in.

The annual parade, which has taken place in Hoyland near Barnsley, since the 1930s and is organised by the Hoyland and District Royal British Legion, had to be shortened from a mile to 200m after South Yorkshire Police said it couldn’t afford to staff the event.

The issue was raised by Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East and sparked national outrage.

It prompted Lee Pilling, a Barnsley man who runs a traffic management firm in Manchester, to offer his company’s services.

He said: “It was absolutely shambolic that, because of Government cuts to policing, veterans weren’t getting the respect they deserve and we are more than happy to help facilitate the parade.”

Bob Hill, parade marshall, said he was delighted the full parade would go ahead on Sunday, adding six off-duty police officers from Manchester had also offered their services.

The parade used to be organised by former branch chair Ken Burkinshaw, who died this year aged 91.

The war vet was just 16 when he served on board HMS Sheffield in the Arctic Convoys maritime campaign during one of the greatest feats of the Second World War.

Mr Hill said: “I felt as if I was letting him down so I’m really happy that we’ve managed to work things out.

“We are hoping for a bigger and better parade than ever this year. Our beef wasn’t with the police - it’s part of a bigger picture.”

Mr Hill, who organises the parade voluntarily, said following publicity about the event, six off-duty police officers from Manchester, who read about it on social media, had offered to come over and staff the parade but he’d already made the new arrangement.

“The response has been really overwhelming,” he said.

Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher, who raise the issue intially, said today he had demanded assurances from South Yorkshire Police local Remembrance Parades would be policed in future, despite Government cutbacks to policing.

He said: “This is a victory for all of us in the local community, who were determined to see a proper parade to remember the service and sacrifices of our Armed Forces.

“The local Royal British Legion branch in Hoyland has worked really hard to raise awareness of the shocking news that the parade couldn’t go ahead.

“It was shameful Government cuts to police budgets forced the cancellation of the parade in the first place.

“This parade should go ahead every year and I have written to the Chief Constable at South Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner to seek assurances that resources will be in place as in previous years to police future Remembrance parades.”