SALFORD COUNCIL ASKS THE COMMUNITY TO REMEMBER AT HOME AMIDST VIRUS RESTRICTIONS
Salford residents are being asked to ‘make a sacrifice’ and commemorate Remembrance Sunday at home this year because of COVID-19.
The Ceremonial Mayor of Salford, Councillor Charlie McIntyre, said this year’s remembrance would be different but no less dignified or heartfelt.
“Everyone of us across the country is fighting an invisible enemy this year – coronavirus. As a result, we have seen unprecedented but necessary restrictions on our lives to try and win the battle,” he said.
“Working with the Royal British Legion, we are asking people to remember from home for this year while we remain under attack by coronavirus.
“To support that, we will show a service of remembrance and a wreath laying ceremony over the internet from 11am on Remembrance Sunday, November 8.
“Many veterans who normally attend the cenotaphs are older and more vulnerable to coronavirus so I would urge people to remember that and participate differently this year. So many brave men and women paid the ultimate price and showed incredible spirit during so many conflicts. Staying home to pay quiet tribute to them instead is our sacrifice this year.
“I know there have been calls for people to stand on their doorsteps and observe two minutes’ silence. It’s a wonderful idea and harks back to the nationwide tributes paid to the NHS and key workers early in lockdown. I’d encourage as many people as possible to take part take part for our veterans and our NHS.”
Salford City Council is also displaying memorial banners and a giant poppy on the Civic Centre and has posted ideas on its website under the banner Remember at Home for ways to pay tribute during the day.
Please see www.salford.gov.uk/rememberathome
Subject to any changes in government coronavirus guidance or restrictions, church services can go ahead with Covid-19 secure measures in place.
Salford was once a place of forests of tree’s, tranquil village lanes and rolling fields. It boasted wildlife in abundances which we will most likely never see again.
Sadly, things change and the cost of what we humans call progress is often paid by the environment and wildlife which inhabits it. Every day, more of that greenery is lost to development and the price is paid by our native species who increasingly come under pressure.
In the past, our City has seen some of the worst pollution in the country due to its industrial heritage and as our population has grown we have expanded our human domain further into natures territory.
As a result our greenbelt land has become increasingly under even more pressure at a time in which we are constantly told that we need to do all we can to prevent an impending natural disaster from global warming.
In more recent years we have seen Salford Council make a huge push to create a healthier, cleaner, greener environment and as part of that push we have been lucky enough to see the creation of an amazing dual function wetlands in Kersal which not only acts as a much needed flood defence system but also as a home to countless numbers and species of water-fowl.
Just recently City Mayor, Paul Dennett took to Twitter with great delight to show a photo of an Otter happily taking a dip in the once heavily polluted River Irwell. It shows just how far our once Dirty Old Town has come and how things have changed. That change has come via the hard work and efforts of many people.
Things have changed because the attitude of both council and people has changed.
We now have a dedicated local wildlife champion in Cadishead Councillor, Lewis Nelson, who over the years has relentlessly fought to protect the greenbelt of Salford, even when it has put him at odds at times with members of his own party members.
More recently, Eccles Councillors along with MP for Salford and Eccles, Rebecca Long-Bailey, were instrumental in stopping plans for a septic tank on a patch of land at the three sister’s nature reserve in Elsmere Park.
Salford Council and the R.A.I.D. group led by Councillor Karen Garrido, were successful in fighting Peel Land and Property through the courts, finally putting an end their plans to build homes on fields in the area which would have brought huge impacts to the local roads and schools, not to mention even more destruction of the green spaces which we love so much.
There is always far more to do but when you look back at where we have come from, the difference is staggering.
Our rivers teem with fish, our marshland plays host to both native bird species as well as those from across Europe and beyond, our local woodland home to huge populations of squirrels, rabbits and all manner of other woodland creatures.
A far cry from the dirty smoke-filled days of our industrial past.
Without a doubt, Salford is a much cleaner place to live and during the dark months of the Covid-19 pandemic they have played an equally vital role as being a place where local people can visit whilst maintaining their social distance, which has gone a long way to help maintain the mental health of many a Salford resident.
So it is understandable that when it was recently revealed that the RHS Bridgewater has undertaken the culling of a number of Salford’s much coveted local deer population to limit potential damage to the plants, shrubs and tree’s on their 156 Acre site in Worsley, the local community was not too pleased to hear the news.
It is understood that Councillor Lewis Nelson and Darren Ward confronted the RHS, raising concerns over the situation, which forced their hand in making a statement about it on their social media groups.
In a release on their Facebook page, the RHS state that they could not herd, net or relocate them due to Covid-19 pandemic and the large number of people required to undertake the operation, so instead, the only other viable option was to ‘humanely’ cull what they claim to be a very small number of the animals which occupied the space outside of the deer enclosure.
The statement in full is as follows:
The statement was met with unprecedented condemnation by commenters to their Facebook page, with many pledging never to visit the RHS site when it opens its doors in 2021, others calling for protests with banners outside when they open.
Within half an hour, a petition was set up which has already gained over 2100 signatures at the time of writing.
Petition · Salford City Council, RHS, RSPCA, : Stop the RHS Bridgewater from further culling of roe deer at their site · Change.org
Local councillors joined in by venting their own anger at what had happened.
Walkden South Councillor, Richard Critchley posted:
Whilst branch secretary of Salford Unison, Stephen North said:
The cities Conservative councillors also waded in on the issue with a scathing press release condemning the culling of which they say they had no notification was to take place.
Salford Mayor and our Wildlife Champion Lewis Nelson, jointly issued a statement this morning.
Our city is heavily populated, and yes it is true that it still has its problems and there is much more to do, the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework has both councillors and public divided over its impact, but one thing is blatantly clear, in Salford we cherish what wildlife we have.
Our own Salford Online Facebook page is evident of that as each day our members help us to showcase it and in these times of pandemics and social distancing it has never been appreciated more.
From videos of friendly foxes playing with dogs in back gardens, to photos of Bartons now native colourful green Parakeets, to the bushy tailed Squirrels that live in the trees throughout our city.
Our group and countless others are filled with Salford’s much-loved nature, we surround ourselves with it whenever we can, and although some of us have gardens of our own, it is surrounded by nature and the wild things that we feel at our best.
For the RHS these deer shootings may have been seen as a solution but for many in Salford that solution was unpalatable.
Some on social media have stated that culling in this way is part of population control and the RHS itself states that it has been done to protect the plants and fauna, but it should be remembered that those deer have lived peacefully on the site they now occupy for centuries with the name of their species embedded in the name of the area of known as Roe Green.
Salford is an urban city and our local council and rangers have done an amazing job of helping to reinstate a little of that nature for us all to enjoy.
As one Facebook commenter said, "Why are they destroying our native wildlife and an established eco system to make way for a fabricated pay to view fake version of nature filled with none native plant species?"
Floods of similar comments filled social media condemning the actions, with countless commenters pledging to boycott the gardens before it ever opens its doors to the public.
These deer are a reminder that the true natural beauty of our City still clings on, a hark to its past and a symbol of its rise as a green and pleasant place to live once more.
And so, the reaction from a nature loving public was predictable, they felt like a shot had been fired at them too and they are now responding in that unique way that Salfordians do when they come under fire. They stand up, dust themselves off and fight back harder.
If the RHS learns one lesson from this it should be, never underestimate the collective power of the people of Salford, they can make you and just as easily break you should they feel the need.
As part of the opening of the RHS, salford.media was planning on running a series of features to welcome the RHS into Salford and to showcase the site, however, under the current circumstances we feel that in all good faith we can no longer do that.
Additionally we have removed any previous promotional materials and articles from our pages in protest.
Instead, we have decided that in the coming weeks we intend to run a series of short videos and articles to showcase the true natural beauty of our City, from its urban landscapes to its parks and woodlands.
A FREE gift of nature to us all to get out and explore.
The deer and other wildlife in Salford can not speak but whilst we can use our voices, we will speak for them.
Despite adverse weather conditions and repeated warnings about mass gatherings with the covid pandemic, it was certain that the people would turn out to pay their respects at Eccles War Memorial today.
Several hundred attended the muted service to lay wreaths, poppies and individual messages of support for the fallen.
Wreaths were laid by The Merchant Navy Association, Eccles Labour Party, British Legion, Royal Air Force, Boy Scouts and others.
A two minute silence was respectfully observed, whilst the poem, For The Fallen by Laurence Binyon was read out with the immortal line, "We will remember them.
The crowd was once again of all ages with children laying crosses and poppies, local motorcycle groups once again attended with flags flying from their bikes and were roundly applauded as they drove away.
A sad day, but heartening to see people attending and lets be honest, they were not going to stay away as other Remembrance Sunday services in Salford testified.
Young people in Salford are looking to the future as the city celebrates National Youth Work week (November 2 to November 8.)
Salford City Council’s youth service, which works with more than 400 young people each week, will be running projects on the skills employers are looking for such as communication and team-work and staying positive and being hopeful as part of the week’s celebrations.
The team has had to move much of its work online because of the pandemic but has continued to work with more than 400 young people every week.
The work ranges from fun activities to help young people develop self-confidence and learn new skills, through art, music, sport and projects such as learning to refurbish bikes to supporting them with school attendance and behaviour difficulties or involvement in anti-social behaviour or crime.
Youth workers also support young mums and dads and young people who are LGBTQ and have helped young people give back to their communities during the pandemic by assisting food banks, delivering food parcels and promoting acts of kindness. They also support the Youth MP, Youth Mayor and Youth Council which campaign for action on issues which matter to young people.
Deputy City Mayor Councillor John Merry said:
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