Bury St Edmunds Apex National Anthem standing ban reversed

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Media caption,

Mr Speller served in the Army and the Territorial Army for 24 years

A 74-year-old Army veteran has caused a Suffolk concert venue to review its policy of not allowing people to stand for the National Anthem.

Doug Speller said he was told standing in the balconies was banned for safety reasons when he booked for a military concert at The Apex, Bury St Edmunds.

He said: "They said if I stood I would be asked to sit down. I was thoroughly disappointed and disgusted with it."

The venue said it had now reversed the ban for military concerts.

Mr Speller, who served in the Army and Territorial Army for 24 years and now lives in Thetford, bought tickets for the Path To Peace concert on 23 November.

It is the last of a series of four military concerts featuring the RAF Honington Voluntary Band.

'Unnecessary upset'

Mr Speller said: "I said 'So I can insult my Queen by not standing-up for the National Anthem?' and the ticket-seller said that was the rules.

"The Apex have got to realise that there are a lot of us that go in for this sort of thing."

The Apex, which is owned by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said it had looked again at its policy following Mr Speller's complaints.

A council spokesperson said: "There is absolutely nothing to stop people standing up as a mark of respect or to show appreciation and, indeed, such an audience response is an integral part of attending.

"We apologise for the misapplication of health and safety principles that has led to unnecessary upset for this customer.

"We will make sure that all our staff understand how rules apply to this part of the building, for the various types of events held here."

The venue said the ban would still apply to other events where standing up and dancing in the balconies posed a safety risk.

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