Norfolk

Religion out of Norfolk fire Armistice event

A fire chief in Norfolk has removed the religious aspect from a Armistice Day event, saying it would otherwise exclude some staff members.

Norfolk Fire Service's chief fire officer Nigel Williams said staff would mark the event but it would not be linked to any faith.

He said the decision had come after last year's service, which contained religious references, divided opinion.

A Diocese of Norwich minister expressed disappointment over the decision.

'Big step'

Fire Brigades Union members will also meet Mr Williams later to discuss the changes.

Mr Williams said: "Following last year's remembrance there were a number of different views voiced by staff on the nature of our headquarters' service.

"With this in mind we have decided that this year our commemoration will not be linked to any specific faith or belief but will still offer people the chance to remember together.

"I hope and believe this will make our Remembrance as inclusive as possible."

Mr Williams said colleagues who died in fires would be remembered alongside forces personnel in the service.

A traditional wreath laying will follow the silence.

'No-one forced'

The Ven Jan McFarlane, from the Diocese of Norwich, said: "We often hear that we're a 'secular society' - but attendance at Remembrance Services today and on Sunday, and the numbers who turn to the church at times of significant national events would suggest otherwise.

"The church has provided a framework for remembrance ever since the end of World War I.

"It's a big step to say such services are no longer appropriate, and one which shouldn't happen as a reaction to a few people saying they feel uncomfortable.

"No-one is forced to be there. So why then take it away from those who would like to attend?"

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