Council waiting for war hero Andy Reid’s Remembrance Sunday complaint

Andy Reid
Andy Reid

Council chiefs in St Helens say they are yet to receive an official complaint from war hero Andy Reid over their handling of this year’s Remembrance Sunday parade.

Mr Reid, who lost both legs and an arm in a landmine explosion in Afghanistan, accused the town hall of “letting down” veterans by using a poor PA system and only providing a small number of covered seating.

He also tweeted his intention to write an official complaint but council chiefs say they cannot respond directly to Mr Reid’s concerns because they have not received a complaint from the former soldier.

However, Mr Reid, who owns the Cinema Bar in St Helens and is a motivational speaker, has publicly published a letter addressed to the council in which he says “more needs to be done” to revitalise the annual event.

He wrote: “I attend the service in town every year despite getting invited to London as I believe it’s a time that should be spent with family and the friends I served alongside.

“Over the last five years the numbers of people attending the service have grown - which is fantastic and shows support for the Armed Forces in this great town.

When you consider the amount of planning and money that goes into the Christmas lights switch-on that happens just two weeks later, a sum of £40,000 is spent to turn some nice flashing lights on and play some music

Andy Reid

“The veterans we have who survived World War Two and people from that era are not getting any younger - yet there is still only one semi-covered area and seating for around 30 people.

“People start arriving to get in a good position at about 9.30am so it’s a long time to be stood until the parade finishes about 12 noon.

“We need to be careful that we don’t lose the great numbers of people coming, especially the younger generations of the town that turn out to pay their respects because they can’t see what is going on and more importantly can’t hear the words being spoken down to a very poor PA system.

“When you consider the amount of planning and money that goes into the Christmas lights switch-on that happens just two weeks later, a sum of £40,000 is spent to turn some nice flashing lights on and play some music.

“I think a lot more could be done to remember the sacrifice made by the people of this town, for the people of this town and this great nation.”

A St Helens Council spokesman said: “The same PA system was used last year, when no complaints were received. However, to make sure the occasion remains a solemn and dignified remembrance we will be reviewing the day to identify if improvements can be made for next year.

“This includes meeting with some of the key partners involved.

“With regard to seating arrangements, 60 seats were made available to veterans and others in a special marquee area.”