A MORAY COMMUNITY are hitting out at plans to bring their Remembrance Sunday parade forward by a week for the second successive year.
The annual Forres service was advance a week last year as the Army based at Kinloss Barracks could not provide enough troops with many of their personnel on deployment.
That resulted in the Forres parade being brought forward by a week – and it was widely accepted by the local community as a one-off under exceptional circumstances.
However, plans by the Army and the local branch of the Royal British Legion to repeat the exercise this year are being met with fierce opposition – and criticism that it has little to do with personnel numbers and more to do with the convenience of VIP’s wishing to attend – a charge that has been denied.
A Facebook campaign against the date change is being led by Forres resident Karen Ettles, who said: “It would appear that the Chairman and the committee of the Royal British Legion, Forres, have decided as last year’s parade was such a success we should in fact have it a week early again this year.
“I’m told, the reason is because it might suit a few VIPs and might allow a few extra on the parade. Personally as a traditionalist I feel it should be on the correct day, Remembrance Sunday.”
She found support from Karen Cox, a volunteer for a Moray military charity, who said: “I do not think a date change for this very important annual service should be made unless it was absolutely unavoidable.
“That does seem to have been the case in 2016 – but just because it worked then does not make it right to do the same this year and, who knows if it becomes a habit, every year.
“Remembrance Sunday is about remembering people who have fallen in service of their country, it is conducted on the nearest Sunday to November 11 – that is how it should remain.”
Ruth Douglas, who is staff officer for 39 Engineers at Kinloss Barracks, insisted that while recognising it was sensitive their aim was to provide Forres with the best possible remembrance parade.
She added: “Our troops can march through Forres on the November 5th and then visit other locations on the 12th, whereas previously they have been thinly stretched by having to attend all of them on the same day.
“The soldiers are remembering fallen colleagues, so these parades are of massive importance to them.”
Ms Douglas flatly denied that the date change had anything to do with allowing VIPs to attend the parade.