The Parish Council assists with organising Remembrance Day services at Heath Hayes and Wimblebury.
If anyone wants to volunteer to help as a Marshall, or wants to take over the management of the event, please contact the Clerk on firstname.lastname@example.org. In 2020, it will be held on 8th November.
The Heath Hayes event is held in November on the nearest Sunday to 11th. In 2019, this was Sunday 10th November.
Report for Council January 2020
4/09/2019 – Council Minutes
This was a community event that and it was hoped that the police would attend as in previous years. The event would be reviewed in December meeting. Councillors and their friends and families were invited to participate in marshalling the event.
Should the police not be able to guarantee sufficient attendance, it was agreed with regret that it was not feasible to stop and direct traffic, to parade on the roads nor close the roads. In this case, there would be a service at St John’s at 10am and a service, silence and reading at the Memorial Gates at 11am.
RESOLVED: TO CO-ORDINATE THE ARRANGEMENTS AS ABOVE.
6/09/2019 – Report sent to Council.
I met with the Deputy Commander of Cannock Police (Sgt Burslem) on 5th September and he was unable to guarantee or even promise with any degree of certainty that any police officers would be able to attend the event.
This was explained as a review in arrangements owing to a shortage of officers with a reduction in manning of regular officers, resignations from the Special Constabulary and shift patterns for the PCSOs. (Both of ours being off duty on that day).
I was told that I would be contacted by 4pm on 6th September should it be possible after my representations to alter the position. There has been no contact nor change. I feel there is a reluctance to commit anything to paper as I had asked for a phone conversation about what was happening and this was not answered. Sgt Burslem starts annual leave on 9th September.
An absolute minimum of one marked vehicle plus three further uniformed officers is required. This is to close the Hednesford Road outside St John’s with one officer, one in a marked car at the front of the Parade, one at Hednesford Road at Five Ways stopping traffic entering that road and another dealing with the rest of Five Ways Island along with marshalls.
It has been confirmed that this level of cover will not be provided.
I was told there might be a car/driver and one officer, no Specials, no PCSOs. Paying for officers is not an option as there is no vehicle and those posted to this event would be redeployed elsewhere.
Scouts / etc. Will not participate in a parade without prior confirmation of police attendance.
Cannock Chase Drum Corps. Internal issues have resulted in the loss of members and the group has not been practicing regularly. Closure of the group is being considered. There would be some attendance on the day of drummers but no bugler.
Traffic in the area.
On the day, it is expected that the A5190 would still be closed one way between Eastern Way and Devon Road.
The A5190 is scheduled to be closed between Newlands Lane by Newhall Farm and Eastern Way.
Hayes Way would still be closed towards Eastern Way.
It is not possible to guarantee sufficient police attendance to provide a level of cover for public safety and adequate traffic management at this location. At Five Ways Island, there are two A roads, two B roads and the Wimblebury Road and It is not reasonable to expect volunteers to stop traffic, close these roads for 20 minutes and then to direct traffic.
We also cannot provide a guaranteed level of safety with a “sterile” area ahead of the parade going to the Memorial Gates and then returning to the Cons Club.
We have a duty of care for those attending and it is clear that there is an identifiable risk to public safety and this must be considered. It is also a consideration that there will be more traffic owing to the other closures and that the drivers may be less co-operative and more aggressive as a result.
For 2019, our involvement in the event on 10th November will therefore as agreed, be confined to Heath Hayes Park and to not have a parade nor a road closure.
There would be services at 10am and 11am at St John’s. Possibly also at the Bourne. Rev Glynne Watkin and Reg Fullelove would be asked to conduct the readings etc at the Memorial Gates.
Those that want to attend can make their own way there as usual, but not walking as a group in the road.
2/10/2019 – Minutes from October meeting.
RESOLVED: TO WRITE AND CONFIRM THE ABOVE ARRANGEMENTS.
3/10/2019 – Letter (also to P&CC) as directed.
Chief Constable Staffordshire Police Weston Road Stafford
3 October 2019
Ref : 177
Dear Chief Constable,
SUBJECT : POLICE ATTENDANCE AT REMEMBRANCE EVENTS.
The Council has asked me to write to you and the Police & Crime Commissioner about police attendance at Remembrance Events.
As a result of what had been reported to the Council, it was clear that it would not be possible to expect sufficient police attendance to reasonably ensure the safety of those attending as well as other road users.
The particular circumstances at Heath Hayes are there is an assembly at the Heath Hayes Constitutional Club, Hednesford Road and then a parade on a road to St John’s Church. Then a further parade to a War Memorial at Five Ways Island, a silence and service and then a parade back to the start. This includes up to 800 people walking on public roads between four locations, sometimes five if a second church is involved.
This has always been done with police assistance with traffic management, stopping and directing traffic. Since 2012, a road closure was obtained affecting the B4154 Hednesford Road for 15 minutes at 9.40am and again at 10.40 where the section to Five Ways Island is closed for 45 minutes and the island (Two A Roads, two B Roads and a further road) is closed for 20 minutes.
This is a very busy junction and police attendance is essential to stop and direct the traffic with our marshalls providing a supporting role. It is very rare that any of them have any experience of stopping traffic or dealing with irate members of the public and without the police, it is not sensible to hold the parade which has been running for at least 40 years.
The Council is very disappointed and displeased that it will not be possible to have a Parade this year and would respectfully ask that this situation is reviewed for 2020 onwards for Remembrance events as they are a national commemoration held in and belonging to communities.
Sincerely, R. Smythe.
06/11/2019 – November Report
4.2 Remembrance Sunday 10th November.
There will be a service at St John’s at 10am (also at the Bourne and the Community Life Church).
There will be a service, readings silence etc at the Memorial Gates starting at 10.45am with an intention to hold the silence at 11am. The gates will be open and the proceedings will be held within the park. Alan Dean is assisting with the PA. Rev Glynne Watkin and Reg Fullelove will be conducting the proceedings.
Cannock Chase Drum Corps has been invited to participate, however, it would appear that sadly, the group has suffered from a lack of numbers and has suspended operations pending closure. There is no bugler. There will be no road closure and no planned walking on the road. Invitations have gone out as in previous years with an explanation of the changes. I have had no further comments.
For information, Thames Valley Police insisted on a Management Company for a “Ride of Respect” on 27th October attended by 15,000 people including former and serving officers for murdered Thames Valley Police officer, PC Andrew Harper. This change in policing is a national issue and pointless to discuss on a local level.
In future, traffic management will have to be undertaken by an events management company with adequate training and insurance. This will very probably not change for the foreseeable future, if ever.
However this year, a big advantage is that there will not be any time pressures on the events in the park as the traffic will not be stopped. There will be noise from passing traffic but this must be balanced against the noise in previous years from stationary vehicles with their engines running, noisy radios and the odd idiot sounding their horn.
The arrangements for 2020 begin to be considered in January 2020. I have liaised with Kevin Yates and Mike Edmonds about use of the park and all has been agreed. The event will be reviewed in due course.
If any Councillor has any questions about the arrangements that is not answered here or on our website, please let me know before the meeting.
06/11/2019 – November Minutes
6.1 The Parish Council was organising the event at the Memorial Gates with a silence planned for 11am. Mr Reg Fullelove (Reading) and Reverend Glynne Watkin would be attending. Councillors were encouraged to attend.
6.2 There would be services at St John’s at 10.00am and 11.00am and at the Bourne Methodist Church at 10am.
6.3 It had not been possible to confirm adequate police attendance and with the amount of vehicular traffic that is affected, the Council was disappointed that it had not been able to organise a Parade and would be reviewing the event and future plans in January 2020.
23/11/2019 – Email – Chief Inspector Sarah Wainwright.
Dear Mr Smythe
You will be aware that as an NPT we have supported the six Remembrance Parades across Cannock Chase. In previous years this support has been in the form of road closures and the management of the parade, however you will have received the most recent letter outlining the National stance (attached) whereby these duties will need to be undertaken by the event organisers.
Below are the concerns raised from the parade on 10/11/19 which you may wish to address to ensure the safety of the 2020 parade,
Heath Hayes Road closures were not applied for as organisers stated they would ensure everyone walked along the path and then into the part at five ways.
Some attendees refused to go into the park causing safety and traffic problems on the island and the Special Constabulary were verbally abused by members of the public.
We will continue to attend all parades to lay a wreath on behalf of Staffordshire Police and pay our respects.
Regards Sarah. CI 0602 Sarah Wainwright. NPT Commander Cannock Chase
Email – 23/11/2019
Thank you for the information. I have attached a letter that was due out next week.
The matter is on the Council agenda for consideration for 2020 onwards, however, having done the last 25 years, I do not feel able to reasonably guarantee the safety of a Parade and I will not be organising one.
The Council will have my recommendation to not have a Parade, pay for an Event Management Company or let some other group run it.
Could I just repeat what was in my letter of 10th September…
“After careful consideration, the Council believes that it is not possible to guarantee the safety of the public if there is a parade and therefore will not be applying for a Road Closure nor arranging any parade”. This was reported a month before the event.
I also verbally reported this to PCSO Baggott and a Sergeant (Kevin) at Rugeley who rang me up the week before to check on the arrangements and inform me that an officer would be attending to lay a wreath.
The circumstances you referred to about people walking in the road, not going in the Park and unforgivably abusing the Special Constables are regrettably unsurprising and factors that show the difficulties in managing these events with those who will not consent to directions.
Thank you again for the advance notice and for the attendance of the three officers.
Regards, R. Smythe, Clerk to the Council
23/11/2019 – Letter referred to in above email
SUBJECT : REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY
I am writing to thank Cannock Police for the liaison with the Council over the Remembrance events for 2019.
I am sure we would all like to have the position where all such events could have sufficient resources deployed to them but we live in the real world and have to get on with the way things are, not the way we want them to be.
So first of all, thank you for the advance notice of the position which enabled the Council to manage the event I Heath Hayes Park and to make decisions about arrangements.
The road conditions at this location are challenging to say the least with the amount of vehicular traffic, the number of roads and the length of closure and police attendance and assistance is crucial. Unfortunately, as it was not possible to obtain adequate police resources to reasonably guarantee public safety, it was not possible to safely hold a Parade and the only option was to not to hold a Parade on public roads nor to apply for a road closure.
This was my recommendation to the Council.
I am fully aware of the need and the requirements of efficient planning and in this day and age, what happens when this planning does not take into account adequate risk management or worse still, has a risk identified and carries on regardless.
The Parade at Heath Hayes has been held for 40 years, this was my 25th. It had changed a lot since 1995 with increasing attendances and since 2012, the requirement for Road Closures.
In recent years, there has been an increase in traffic generally and also an increase in the numbers attending the event. The net result of this is that more drivers are affected as there are more of them on the roads and the roads are necessarily closed for longer to allow the passage of a greater number of pedestrians.
In 2019, the Cannock Chase Drum Corps told us they would not be attending and the use of the Bourne Methodist Church was unclear owing to the insurance issues with that building. There are also several road closures in the area affecting traffic flow and likely to add to the traffic affected.
We then come to the problem of public co-operation. Every year, I have experienced drivers annoyance and even anger;
I do not know if you remember but there was a collision by the Post House Hotel at a Remembrance Parade in the early 90’s when I was at Walsall Police Station. A car driver drove into the back of the Parade and injured a scout. This event was fully policed and even had two horses in attendance.
So, as reported to you, the decision was taken to hold the Remembrance event in Heath Hayes Park. This had been discussed previously but there was a complaint that this was disrespectful as it was behind the names. It was pointed out that the Cenotaph in Whitehall has people all around it and that is not disrespectful. However, exact copies of the names were put onto banners and laid inside the park.
The event arrangements were publicised on our webpage and Facebook. The congregation was informed during the service and it was widely discussed and the information available.
On the day, we had the usual issue with the self-righteous who think they can do what they want and would not enter the Park. The PA was set up to broadcast in the Park and it was loud and clear. Those who wanted to hang about outside and on the other side of the road would not be expected to hear and their complaints were as unreasonable as they were expected.
I was in the Park. During the silence, I was pleased that the traffic noise was minimal. I had previously gone there at similar times on the previous two Sundays to listen and the distance from the road helped but also, there was not the noise from when the traffic is stopped of engines running, radios on or someone sounding their horn. There also was not the noise from skid-starting-handbrake- turning drivers deciding that they could not wait and would leave as loudly as possible. I did not call them boy-racers as we have had more issues with older drivers, who one would hope would know better but sadly not.
The silence in the park was observed. The service went well, to plan and seemed to be enjoyed by the vast majority of those who attended. Those outside who later complained about the traffic noise and not being able to hear what was going on would really need to get over themselves and come into the park.
There is some talk about putting a loudspeaker outside the gates. I do not think that should happen and people should not be encouraged to stand on the island or hang about on the pavements.
The delicious irony is these people claim to be there to pay their respects behave in a way that those who served would never do. It is not respectful to continually moan throughout the silence and it is an absolute disgrace that the two female Special Constables that voluntarily attended were subject to abuse.
I apologised to the officers on the day and I want to record my thanks to the three officers and my apologies that they were not treated with the respect they deserved.
As Clerk, I did as required by the Council. All decisions as to the arrangements were notified to and agreed by the Council. (See minutes for September, October and November).
The letters required to be sent to the Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner were sent and worded as directed.
For the last 25 years, letters of thanks with relevant points have been sent out to those involved. Vicars, Drum Corps, Reg Fullelove, Brian Cassalls volunteers and the police. This year was no different.
The Facebook group was created by me in February 2010 and has been run on behalf of the Council for the last nine years and nine months. It was to provide “information about Parish Council issues and some local events”. I posted the letter to the police as a general three page statement about what had been done on the day to counter some of the negative and incorrect unanswered comments on other sites.
My actions were consistent with what the Council has approved for 25 years and has been made from a position of ignorance of the facts.
Previously, the main church service alternated between St John’s Church and Bourne Methodist Church. In 2019, this will be St John’s at 10am and the information will be updated as the future of the Bourne Church is uncertain (November 2019).
There will be a service and silence at the Memorial Gates at 11.00am. Please assemble at 10.40am inside the gates at Heath Hayes Park.
The Public Address will be set up to project into the park. The names of the fallen will be displayed inside the park. The gates will be open during the proceedings and closed afterwards.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE PLANNING FOR REMEMBRANCE SUNDAY 2019.
DECISION FOR 2019: THERE WILL BE NO ORGANISED PARADE, NO ROAD CLOSURES, NO STOPPING OF TRAFFIC, NO POLICE ASSISTANCE WITH TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT
There was an event at the Wimblebury War Memorial on Sunday 3rd November.
Please contact the Clerk for further details.
I have been asked to clarify some issues about the “There But Not There” project and the Tommy silhouette.
Tommy is a national project to get these iconic figures across the country to help remind people about the sacrifices made for us and for communities to show their support and respect.
It was also to raise much needed funds for Help for Heroes, The Royal Foundation, Heads Together, Walking with the Wounded, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Project Equinox to house veterans. £15 million. The Tommies are made by veterans employed by the Royal British Legion. The design is copyrighted and a trademarked and should only be used for approved figures that have been approved by the RoyalBritish Legion.
Five Ways Inn raised £750 which was the purchase price. We are very grateful and thank all involved. The Parish Council will fund the remainder. Our Tommy will be placed on guard on Five Ways Island by the fingerpost pointing towards the Memorial Gates.
He will serve as a poignant and permanent reminder of the loss and sacrifice of service personnel and their families over the years and as a fitting tribute from the people of Heath Hayes and Wimblebury to show that we will never forget. The whole point behind the design is to produce a recognisable and iconic image and for that image to be seen all over the country as a national show of solidarity.
So before you criticise the design or the charitable donation, please consider that the funds go to help those in need and the design was deliberate to be “There But Not There”.
Tommy perfectly embodies the ethos of “There But Not There” as he goes from being almost invisible to obviously there. The slightly bowed head in respect shows that it is not glorifying war, but a solemn remembrance of and respect for those who gave so much.
Mr Andrew Bottomer.
Mr Andrew Bottomer, son of former Councillor Brian Bottomer used to attend the service and read out the names of the fallen, proudly wearing his father’s RAF and Fire Service medals. He died on 16th October 2019 and I have spoken to his widow and sent a condolence card on behalf of the Council.