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Holbeach veterans campaigner tells parish council 'you haven’t got the guts to let veterans walk through our town'

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A man who has worked with war veterans for 30 years told councillors that it was a ‘disgrace’ that a town’s Remembrance Parade has been cancelled.

Harold Payne told Holbeach Parish Council on Monday that he will not forgive them for cancelling this year’s marching parade – which could be one of the last featuring Second World War vets.

Mr Payne, who is well-known for taking veterans back to Normandy on pilgrimages, made an emotional speech after the council had decided to hold a static Remembrance Service on November 14 due to issues with marshals and training.

Harold Payne hits out at Holbeach Parish Council
Harold Payne hits out at Holbeach Parish Council

Speaking in Holbeach Methodist Church on Monday, Mr Payne said: “To me it is a disgrace that we cannot walk through our town with our last veterans. I know from experience in the last few months or even a year, we will have no veterans left as I have lost all of my veterans.

“I think it is a shame that you haven’t got the guts to let our veterans walk through our town in their final days.”

Mr Payne also shared his experiences of visiting the cemeteries in Normandy and also going to Scapa Flow, where three local boys were killed when the Royal Oak was sunk.

During his emotional speech, Mr Payne shared that 16,000 Lincolnshire men were killed in the Second World War. He said: “This is what Remembrance is all about for me. I will leave you with one thought that I am disgusted with our town and the county for letting you get away with it.

“Words can’t express the way I feel tonight because if they did I would be chucked out of this place. As long as I live. I won’t forgive you.”

No comment was made by councillors after Mr Payne walked out of the meeting but Elizabeth Davies-Chapman, from Holbeach Royal British Legion, said that a static service will be held.

She also said that the Act of Remembrance was to honour all service personnel who had lost their lives but also those affected by terrorism.

The council had previously stated that it had received 27 names of volunteer marshals but not everyone had responded to them or could attended the training session.

Mr Payne will be holding his own marching parade in the afternoon of November 14.

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