A GROUP of veterans in Malvern say they were made to feel "unwelcome" at last week's Remembrance Day event in the town.

The group usually attends the wreath laying in the town, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year's attendance had to be restricted, meaning they were not allowed beyond the barriers while the event was ongoing.

Because of the pandemic, the event had to be done with a reduced number of people.

A small wreath-laying service was carried out in front of the library in Malvern itself, attended by Mayor of Malvern, Cllr Neil Morton, who laid a wreath on behalf of the town, and Anthony Hartley-Woolley, representing armed forces veterans past and present.

Also taking part were district councillor Beverley Nielsen and Jacqueline Tanner, who was the youngest survivor of one of Britain's worst sea disasters, the sinking of the Lancastria, in June 1940.

Peter Storry, one of the veterans there, called it "shambolic" saying they should have been allowed in to place their wreaths at the war memorial.

He said: "Even the Deputy Lieutenant of Worcestershire was there, arriving after the barriers were removed to allow veterans and himself to place their respective Wreaths.

"I am sorry, but, the way it was organised was really a disgrace.

"The council, it would appear had ignored the change of procedure by the Government, in that wreaths could now be place if correct social distancing was recognised."

In response, a statement on behalf of Malvern's town clerk Linda Blake explained why the event was held the way it was.

It said: "It is disappointing that criticism has been received over this year's Remembrance Commemorations, particularly when the Town Council decided to continue with an 'open' event on Remembrance Sunday rather than to either cancel the event or hold one which was completely closed to the public.

"The Town Council shares the frustration held by Armed Forces Veterans, and this is not the way that the Council would choose to hold the event.

"Unfortunately, the current situation forced upon the Town Council means that the safety of all participants and members of the public must be paramount.

"The barriers were there for the safety of those taking part in the event and sadly it was not possible to allow all of those wishing to lay wreaths to take part as the numbers involved would not have complied with event guidelines.

"After the short service had taken place, the barriers were moved to allow individuals to lay their wreaths in a controlled and socially distanced manner."