THE decision to cancel this year’s Remembrance Service on its 100th anniversary has brought disappointment to a Saddleworth community.

Austerlands should have been marking the emotional event at Oldham and Saddleworth’s oldest war memorial at Huddersfield Road on Sunday, November 8.

But after seeking advice from Oldham Council, event organiser David Needham was told currently all Remembrance Sunday services will operate as "closed events" and have no attendees.

This is in line with current government guidance and the newly implemented "rule of six". There will be no parade or brass bands at any Remembrance Sunday events this year.

Each service must have a robust risk assessment and Covid-19 secure risk assessment in place and adhere to current Government advice.

Mr Needham, a community stalwart, said: “In the current climate, social distancing and the ‘rule of six’ will still need to be adhered to.

“Due to how rapidly the rules and advice is changing, it’s tough to gauge if this will still be the case in November, but for the time being it’s imperative that these rules are followed.

“Given the confined space around the actual monument and its proximity to a major highway we could not see a way of managing the social distancing.

“We were also concerned if we did organise a 'closed event' people would congregate around the memorial in any case, leaving us with any legal liability.”

He added: “It is disappointing because last year around 200 people paid tribute at our war memorial and this time we expected a larger turnout to mark the centenary of the memorial, which was officially unveiled on Saturday, August 7, 1920.”

On the wider community issue, Alison Clowes, vice chair of Saddleworth Royal British Legion and standard bearer, said: “We are working with Oldham council to ensure people are able to pay their respects.

“We will have more information for everyone as soon as possible . I'm sure everyone understands how tricky it is given government guidance and also local guidelines that we must follow and adhere to.

“We are having to change things quite somewhat this year.As soon as we have an agreed plan I shall update you with all the information.”