And still they came: How residents in Skegness area remembered the brave

A giant poppy shines up to the sky in a Skegness park in a special gesture for Remembrance Day to show that the brave will never be forgotten

Parades and services were cancelled this year and residents were asked to stay at home due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Instead, residents in Skegness were invited to join a specially recorded service conducted by the Rural Dean, the Rev Richard Holden which was broadcast live on YouTube at 10.45am.

After the Exhortation and two minutes silence, the public were invited to go outside and clap for the heroes lost in conflict, our veterans and those who serve our country today in the war against a virus - in the same way as we did for the NHS and key workers during the last lockdown.

Drone picture of the poppy in Tower Gardens in Skegness.

For those still wanting to pay their respects, a trail of 60 poppies was laid around town, leading to a special display outside the New Park Club - the home of the Skegness branch of the Royal British Legion.

And in Tower Gardens, a 12-metre wide poppy was painted on the grass so people could remember, while socially distanced.

Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt turned out early on Remembrance Day to lay a wreath on behalf of Skegness Town Council, so as not to attract a crowd - as did the Skegness branch of the Royal British Legion.

However, others in the town had the same idea. In an unplanned ceremony at the cenotaph outside St Matthew's Church, representatives of other groups and organisations laid their wreaths just before 11am and a bugler even turned up to sound the Last Post. Town Crier Steve O'Dare, who had also gone to quietly pay his respects was asked to read the Exhortation.

The team who painted the poppy in Tower Gardens, Skegness.

Coun Dannatt said the Town Council's decision not to hold the usual parade and service to keep the community safe was 'the right thing to do'. He praised those who had worked tirelessly to create the poppy trail and the giant poppy in the park, so people could pay their respects quietly and socially distanced, should they so wish.

He said: "The guys have worked tirelessly over two days to create the displays and it's absolutely amazing what they have achieved and a credit to them.

"As a council we made the decision to keep people safe in the current climate and it was the right thing to do."

Volunteers were out at 6.30am on Friday morning placing poppies on lamp-posts around Skegness, leading to a special display outside the New Park Club in Scarbrough Avenue,

Birds-eye view of the poppy in Tower Gardens, Skegness

The poppy trail began with an idea by Andrew Derry, owner of GAF Gym and Fitness Centre, and was funded by donations from town councillors and other local people.

"It all started with Andrew asking me if it would be OK to put poppies on lampposts," said Coun Findley, who is also a committee member of the Skegness and district Royal British Legion.

"I got in touch with Lincolnshire County Council and it snowballed from there.

"Some local businessmen got on board with generous donations and we got in touch with the Lincolnshire Royal British Legion to see where we could get hold of some poppies.

David Wright of Skegness visits the 'Allies - one and all' display, donated by the manager of the Hildreds Centre Steve Andrews, outside the New Park Club in Skegness.

"We were told that this year they did not have any lamppost poppies but they did have some lorry poppies and were able to do us a deal because some of them were used."

The Skegness branch of the Royal British Legion would like to thank everyone for helping this to happen, added Coun Findley. Donations were given by Andrew Derry, Coun Adrian Findley, Coun Danny Brookes, Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt, chairman of the Skegness Branch of the Royal British Legion Paul Dixon, Russell Taylor and Jane Gray.

On Saturday morning, a group of volunteers, including members of the Skegness branch of the Royal British Legion, were preparing the display of the “Allies - one and all”, which had been donated by Steve Andrews of the Hildreds Centre.

In the centre of Tower Gardens, another group of volunteers, led by Coun Adrian Findley, were painting the giant poppy, using paint donated by Phil Snell of the P and R Decorating Centre in Skegness.

"The Skegness branch of the Royal British Legion would like to thank everyone for helping this to happen," added Coun Findley. Donations were given by Andrew Derry, Coun Adrian Findley, Coun Danny Brookes, Mayor of Skegness Coun Mark Dannatt, chairman of the Skegness Branch of the Royal British Legion Paul Dixon, Russell Taylor and Jane Gray.

In Spilsby and Wainfleet, quiet ceremonies to remember the brave went ahead as planned.

Poppy wreaths laid at the memorial in Skegness.

Denis Chandler, chairman of Spilsby and District Royal British Legion said: "It was a very quiet ceremony.

"We went along so people could lay their wreaths and Father Peter gave the blessing. It was all over by 11.15am and people stayed away as they were asked.

In Wainfleet, Coun Wendy Bowkett commented: "There was a different Remembrance Day in Wainfleet

with a very poignant two minutes silence to remember the many fallen soldiers that didn’t return home."

People will be able to see the “Allies - one and all” display outside the New Park Club in Skegness until today (Wednesday, November 11).

The giant Remembrance poppy in Tower Gardens, Skegness.
One of two poppies painted on Gunby Roundabout by Lincolnshire County Council.
The poppy trail in Lumley Road, Skegness.
Paul Hindle of Skegnes on the poppy trail near the Clock Tower.
The poppy trail along Lumley Road.
The poppy trail along the seafront.
Jason Eley of Skegness looking at poppy wreaths laid at the war memorial at St Matthew's Church. His great-grandfather's name is on the memorial - A.E.Hardy, who was killed at the First Battle of Ypres.
Spilsby Mayor Coun Terry Taylor at the Memorial.
The quiet ceremony at the memorial in Wainfleet.
Representatives of services and organisations still turned up to lay wreaths on Remembrance Day in spite of there being no official parade or service.
A bugler in Skegness playing the Last Post in what became an unofficial ceremony on Remembrance Day.