Remembrance Sunday was diligently marked by hundreds across Grampian and the Highlands despite a scaled-back service due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Quiet groups solemnly gathered at Aberdeen, Banff, Inverness, Rothes and Grantown War Memorials at 11am to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country’s freedom.
At Remembrance Hall at Aberdeen Art Gallery a smaller than usual service was held, while dozens stood outside to pay their respects – a number of formal services were cancelled in many places.
It was also marked at Banff War Memorial hall by Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire Mrs Patricia Seligman who laid the Queen’s wreath.
Edward Mountain MSP visited a number of Highland War Memorials.
He served in the British Army from 1980 to 1992 in the Blues and Royals, part of the Household Cavalry.
The Highlands and Islands MSP said: “As a former soldier, I felt it was important to spend a moment alone at our local War Memorials to pay tribute to all those who gave their lives for our freedom and to protect the United Kingdom.
“Of course it is disappointing that formal Remembrance Sunday Ceremonies were unable to go ahead this year and it is right in these troubled times that we don’t gather socially.
“However, it remains vital that we find different ways to commemorate the day.”
James Neave, who attended the Aberdeen Remembrance Hall service with his grandson Ryan, said concerns over the coronavirus pandemic were not going to stop him paying tribute.
He added: “It’s being marked by the Queen in London, so why should we not show our respect here?
“They can’t hold us back from everything, I’ve been coming to mark it for 50 years.
“Everyone was very socially distanced, and we didn’t feel unsafe in the slightest.”
Ryan Neave, 33, said: “Our family served in the war and have served in the Gordon Highlanders for numerous years up until the First World War.
“It’s also the 75th of the ending of the Second World War so it just feels like we should mark it, even with Covid-19, we want to pay our respects to the men who fought to destroy fascism.”
Corporal Fearns, who served in the 15th Parachute Regimen, also said it was important to mark the day.
The 73-year-old said: “I’m down here first and foremost to pay a bit of respect.
“It’s important on a day like today that we remember the sacrifices people made and what we went to war for – the coronavirus isn’t going to stop me.”
The Kittybrewster Congregational Church’s 40th Boys Brigade Company cleared a former waste ground over several weeks to hold their own act of Remembrance on the Powis Terrace site.
The Company laid a wreath and held a two minutes silence.
Andy Cowie, the minister of Kittybrewster Congregational Church, said: “The pandemic has seen the members find a new normal for meeting and being able to hold an Act of Remembrance on site, helps to let people know that even during the pandemic, we can still remember those who gave their lives so we can live in freedom.”
The Lord Provost of Aberdeen, Barney Crockett, who attended the small indoor Aberdeen Remembrance Hall service in which the public were asked not to attend, described the event as “very emotional”.
He added: “It’s such an important landmark for our city and we take it very seriously, so to contemplate a reduced service was a sombre thought for us.
“But we felt it was really important that we mark it as appropriately as we could and I think under the circumstances it was a profoundly moving service.”