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‘We will remember them… When it suits our VIP guests’

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Plans to stage a Remembrance Sunday parade in a Moray town one week before the rest of the nation marks the occasion have sparked anger.

The procession through Forres was held a week early last November because local Army personnel were called out on deployment.

But a decision to hold it early again this year has prompted a backlash.

While people across the UK will fall silent in honour of those killed in conflict at 11am on Sunday, November 12, the Forres event will take place on November 5.

The Kinloss Army Barracks and the Forres Royal British Legion are behind the move, and say it allows more soldiers to take part.

However, local forces charities have called for a rethink, and a Forres woman is campaigning against the change.

Volunteer with a local military charity, Karen Cox, said: “It’s not supposed to be about getting the right numbers, it’s about the people who we are remembering.

“I would never expect it to be moved unless it was unavoidable.”

Forres resident, Karen Ettles, claims the switch has been made to make life easier for “VIP guests”.

She has taken to social media, urging people to complain in the hopes of forcing a U-turn on the plans.

Staff officer for 39 Royal Engineers regiment at Kinloss, Ruth Douglas, defended the move and denied it was intended with senior figures in mind.

She said: “We know it is sensitive, but we felt that this was the best way of giving Forres the kind of remembrance parade we want the town to have.

“Our troops can march through Forres on the 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.

“This decision isn’t about making things easier, it is about getting as many people out marching as possible to show respect.”

Mrs Douglas said the dates of future wreath-laying ceremonies would be considered on a “year by year” basis.

Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston, backed the change – citing the success of last year’s early event.

He said: “It means we can have far more soldiers on parade, and last November that meant we had the biggest crowd for any I have seen in Moray for years.”

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