Poppy Appeal organiser ‘disgusted’ after police pull out of annual Melton parade

Richard Norton, who is running back-to-back marathons to raise money for the Remembrance Day parade in Melton, with the town's Poppy Appeal organiser Jock Bryson EMN-170910-152317001
Richard Norton, who is running back-to-back marathons to raise money for the Remembrance Day parade in Melton, with the town's Poppy Appeal organiser Jock Bryson EMN-170910-152317001

The organiser of Melton’s Poppy Appeal says he is ‘disgusted’ that police cannot afford to marshal this year’s Remembrance Day parade in the town.

Jock Bryson and his colleagues at the local branch of the Royal British Legion now need to raise hundreds of pounds to ensure the event can go ahead safely next month.

Leicestershire Police say they do not have the resources to support parades like they have in the past.

But, Mr Bryson (82) told the Melton Times: “I feel disgusted that people went to war and gave their lives and now, all of a sudden, as we approach the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the police are saying they are not going to help us with the parade this year.”

Around half of the estimated £800 cost of organising the parade will be raised by Richard Norton, the husband of Jock’s granddaughter, by running two marathons on the same day later this month.

He said: “It’s so important to Melton that we keep holding the parade, and the atmosphere is phenomenal with the serving and ex-serving people marching through town.

“The thought of them will keep me going during the marathons - I see no fun in it.”

Richard, who is restaurant manager at the Hammer and Pincers pub in Wymeswold, is running his marathons in Telford, Shropshire on October 28 - The Pumpkin Marathon at 9am and then The Spooky Marathon at 4pm.

A bake sale is also being organised, and staff at The Grapes pub in the town are holding a raffle to raise more cash to help pay the costs of the parade, which will be on Sunday November 12.

Organisers need to bring in a professional with the health and safety qualifications required to manage traffic and provide the required signs for closing roads. Money is also needed to pay for a PA system in the Memorial Gardens, where this year’s service will be held while St Mary’s Church is undergoing a major renovation project.

Leicestershire Police said it was keen to pay its respects to the fallen from the world wars and officers would be at some of the county’s larger remembrance parades to engage with attendees and maintain public safety.

But, Chief Superintendent Andy Lee said: “In order to support these Remembrance Day events we need to carefully manage our resources to ensure business-as-usual continues, and that our level of service across the whole county is maintained.

“In previous years, officers in attendance at parades have been involved in assisting with road closures and traffic management along parade routes due to the lack of formal traffic management arrangements.

“However, this had an impact on our day-to- day operations and demands.

“This is not something that we can sustain alongside making sure we are able to respond to incidents anywhere in the county.”

l To volunteer as a parade marshal call 01664 563302.