I feel that I must reply, to Martine Welsh’s letter (Saturday) on behalf of the “organisers” of Sheffield Civic Remembrance Sunday Parade, who are precluded from making comment in their own defence.
The “organisers” start making preparations many months before the parade and comprise – service military, various departments of Town Hall, police, ex-service associations, Salvation Army Band, reservist commanders, medics, cadets and scouts.
Each hold their own meetings and draw up plans for their associates.
Unfortunately, on the day, some plans had to be changed due to an incident requiring the police to close parts of Division Street and Holly Street.
This caused more people than usual to stand in lower Barker’s Pool.
Maroons have been used in Barker’s Pool, without incident, for many years, but last November they were banned on health and safety grounds.
For the two minutes’ silence timings are taken from the Town Hall clock, which can be heard clearly at the head of Barker’s Pool, when trumpeters announce the start of the two minutes’ silence by playing The Last Post, followed two minutes later by Reveille.
The “15 minutes of nothing” is due to the time taken for the solemn laying of wreaths by three sets of wreath bearers.
Town Hall staff print hundreds of service sheets which cadets start handing out from 10am to everyone they find in the area, but have to be back in their places by 10.45 when everything kicks off.
I agree that acoustics and sightlines lower down Barker’s Pool are poor and extra loud speakers to help the public follow events might be helpful.
However, I feel that large television screens would be inappropriate – turning a sombre memorial service into something akin to a pop concert.
Having said all that, I thank you for your comments and suggestions. These will be presented to the “organisers” whose intention is to improve the event year on year.
Vince McDonagh, secretary, Sheffield & District Joint Council of Ex-Service Associations