Military veterans attend special service in Sheffield to remember those lost during Covid-19 pandemic
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Pat Davey, Chair of the Sheffield and District Joint Council of Ex-Service Associations, made good on her promise to a widow who lost her husband during the pandemic to organise a service for those who could not be given military funerals due to Government health restrictions.
When Pat said she would pay homage to a navy veteran in 2020 she did not think that it would take two years to come to fruition
However this longer than anticipated delay did nothing to dampen her resolve to fulfil her promise.
On July 9 members of the joint council and home mess gathered to remember those who died during the lockdown.
Nick Williams, the deputy lord-lieutenant of South Yorkshire, councillor Sioned-Mair Richards, lord mayor of Sheffield and lord mayor's consort councillor Jackie Satur, along with councillor Tony Downing, Sheffield’s Armed Forces Champion, were also in attendance.
Pat Davey said: “It’s very important the reason why we’re doing this.
“Under normal circumstances if families wanted, the joint council, or British Legion provide standard bearers, a bugler to play the last post, and someone to give the exaltation.
“To give the kind of service and ceremonial burial they would normally get if they were still in the forces.
“We do this because they’ve earned that right by their service, and their offer to give their lives for their country.
“It is also very comforting for their families to have this kind of recognition for their loved ones.”
“It actually brought it home to me, just before lockdown came into effect, when a long standing member of the Sheffield and District Joint Council of Ex-Service Associations, British Legion, and Naval Association suddenly died.
“I had the very difficult job of ringing his wife, commiserating her, and having to say we won’t be able to of course attend the funeral, but when it was over, I promised we’d have a service for Dereck, or anyone else who died during the pandemic.”
She continued: “I didn't think it would be two years of deaths of veterans, and everyone else. Because of lockdown we couldn’t do things , so what started off being service for a few, has turned into a service for many.
“I just want people to know their relatives are being remembered by other veterans and service people.”
The service was given by Vicar Cathy Green who also works with children, parents and staff at Sheffield Children's Hospital.
The last post was performed by bugler Norman Cawkwell, aged 88, an RAF National Service veteran.
Pat said: “I offer thanks to all of you who attended service to honor comrades who died during the Covid-19 pandemic, and for whom we could not attend nor mark their funerals because of rightfully imposed legal restrictions curtailing gatherings taking place, in order to save lives.”