The confusion and discomfort that marred Lanark’s 2015 Remembrance Service and parade will never happen again.
That pledge has been made by the havent, Lanark Community Council chairman Frank Gunning, both in a letter to the Gazette this week (see Page 22) and at Monday night’s council meeting.
In the wake of the November 8’s botched ceremony, slammed as “disorganised” by Heather Paterson of Lanark Girls’ Brigade in last week’s Gazette, a promised “post-mortem” was held by the council.
At the heart of the debate is the role Lanark’s Memorial Hall plays in the annual homage to Lanark’s war dead.
The hall was specifically built as the town’s War Memorial and opened in 1926; every annual Remembrance Sunday Service was held in the hall until it closed for a massive, £5m, four-year long refurbishment, re-opening in 2013.
During the lengthy closure the council adopted what was meant to be a temporary alternative Remembrance Sunday commemoration, the Service being held in either St Nicholas or Greyfriars Church, followed by a procession to the hall where the congregation stood outside in St Leonard Street whilst wreaths were laid in the temporarily re-opened hall foyer where the names of the war dead are on plaques,
When the hall re-opened in 2013 the Community Council nevertheless decided to stick with the `temporary’ Remembrance arrangement, arguing that it had proved successful and more members of the public and local organisations were coming to the ceremony.
There were critics - principally in the Lanark Lord Cornets Club and Guildry - who argued that the traditional service inside the hall be re-established; the congregation, many of them elderly folk, had to stand for a long period in the November weather outside the hall while the wreaths were laid.
It was even claimed that a chill caught at the ceremony contributed to the death shortly afterwards of one elderly war veteran.
On Monday night council chairman Frank Gunning freely admitted that this year’s ceremony had suffered from confusion.
He successfully proposed “as widespread a consultation of the people and organisations of Lanark on what should happen with the Remembrance from next year.”