Page last updated at 15:10 GMT, Friday, 31 October 2008

'Safe' poppy parade to go ahead

The Newbridge War Memorial
The veterans will pay tribute to the town's war dead

A town's annual Remembrance Sunday parade, under threat after a health and safety row, is to go ahead as usual.

Eighty years after the first Poppy Day march through the streets of Newbridge, Caerphilly county, march organisers were told to shorten their route.

But when local British Legion veterans said they would cancel the march rather than alter it, an agreement was reached between Caerphilly Council and police.

The council said it was "delighted" problems were being resolved.

News of the council's decision to let the march go ahead was confirmed by Bill Pinney, president of the Newbridge branch of the Royal British Legion.

Mr Pinney said, "I was informed that they had come to an arrangement with the police and we are now able to go ahead as we have in previous years.

Seen sense

"And the police themselves have phoned me as well and said that they are quite prepared to do whatever is necessary, which is as it has been in the past."

After being told to amend the route of the parade, veterans contacted Don Touhig, MP for Islwyn, who offered his support in a letter to Caerphilly council.

When the green light was finally given Mr Touhig said: "At a time when British soldiers are on active service overseas it would have been shameful if the parade had been cancelled. I am pleased that the council has finally seen sense.

"I pay tribute to Bill Pinney and all the other veterans whose determination to ensure that our war dead are honoured with dignity is an example to us all."

Since just after World War I the march has traditionally taken place along several streets in a circuit of the town, visiting a church and chapel on alternate years.

However, the council wanted to move the parade from its usual starting point in the centre of town, confining it to a short walk along the high street, to stop congestion.

A spokesman for the council said it was delighted that, by working with Gwent Police, the parade would take place as normal.

"The council recognises that there are problems that need to be resolved regarding the parade but we are confident that by working closely with the police we will be able to resolve them and that the event will take place as it has in previous years," he said.

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