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Community rallies to save Remembrance Day ceremony
A REMEMBRANCE DAY ceremony at Radnor Street Cemetery will go ahead after the local community rallied round to save it.
The annual service had been scrapped after the organisers were told they had to take out public liability insurance.
The graveyard in Old Town had been the ideal spot for the ceremony as it is the final resting place for 104 war heroes from Swindon and is an official Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.
But the Friends of Radnor Street Ceremony have since been told by Swindon Council that insurance is only needed for the chapel, and they are free to hold the ceremony outside. The Mechanics’ Institution Trust has also said the building can come under its insurance after a risk assessment is carried out.
Friends member Graham Carter said: “It’s brilliant news. The fact the ceremony will go ahead means a lot to everyone involved, especially the 18th Scouts.
“They have a lot of connections to the cemetery and have been up recently to do a litter clear-up. It’s also important to show the relatives that their loved ones are not forgotten.
“To be able to stand up there among the Commonwealth War Graves on Remembrance Day means a lot to everyone.”
Mechanics’ Institution chairman Daniel Rose has promised to bring the chapel under its insurance and is due to hold a meeting with the Friends.
A funeral director in Royal Wootton Bassett also offered to pay the entire £280 premium but will fund restoration work to the chapel windows instead.
Mr Carter said: “The insurance for the chapel is to cover any problems with litigation. The council will carry out a risk assessment and a building assessment.
“The Mechanics’ Institution will bring us under their insurance once it’s all completed. It’s quite fitting to have a connection between two pieces of Swindon history which are both connected to the Great Western Railway.
“The whole cemetery stems from the railway, it was built because of it and expanded to serve Swindon.
“The Mechanics’ Institution provided the workers with somewhere to go.
“Both deserve to be remembered and we have been finding with the cemetery more people are walking through and realising it is here.”
The group has run the service, which attracts crowds of 150 people, since 2006.
The service takes place on Remembrance Sunday in November and is attended by veterans, the Scouts and the mayor. The Friends will also be resuming their guided walks around the cemetery.
For more information visit www.radnorstreetcemetery.org.uk