Edinburgh Armistice Day service moved due to high winds

An Armistice Day service in Edinburgh was moved at short notice due to poor weather.

The Legion Scotland service of Remembrance was meant to take place in Princes Street Gardens on Friday, but the city council made the decision at 10am to close the gardens because of high winds.

Legion Scotland said the event was moved to Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, where a smaller service went ahead with veterans who worked in the factory and others from all around Scotland.

Legion Scotland national padre Rev Karen Campbell led the service, and Edinburgh Lord Provost Robert Aldridge, and others, laid a wreath.

The service was streamed live on Facebook.

Mr Aldridge said: “Due to the ongoing weather conditions and high winds, Princes Street Gardens has been closed. Unfortunately, this meant, for safety reasons, the Armistice Day service of Remembrance had to be relocated to the Poppyscotland HQ.

“The full Remembrance service was held, including the laying of a wreath on behalf of the citizens of Edinburgh.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment caused but the safety of everyone attending was our priority.”

Claire Armstrong, chief executive of Legion Scotland, said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, from the First World War to more recent conflicts.

“Today is about remembering them, as well as those servicemen and women who came back with mental or physical injuries.

“We were very disappointed that the planned service at Princes Street Gardens could not go ahead due to the weather, but public safety has to be paramount.

“While the service was much smaller than planned, we were glad that veterans from Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory and elsewhere were able to join us in paying tribute, while people across Scotland observed the two-minute silence.”

Aidan Stephen, from Edinburgh, who served as a Major with the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, was among those paying tribute in Edinburgh City Centre.

He said: “We just can’t forget. There isn’t a single person in my family who has not been affected by conflict in some way. I think of them today, as well as the friends I’ve lost.”

Meanwhile, ScotRail held a two-minute silence on its services at 11am, and another will take place on Remembrance Sunday.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail’s head of customer operations, said: “ScotRail is proud to play its part in observing the annual silence to remember the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women involved in the two world wars and later conflicts.

“If customers are travelling by train on Remembrance Sunday, we would ask that they respectfully observe the two-minute silence at 11am.”

Armistice Day is followed tomorrow by “Poppy Saturday”, a day when streets and shopping centres will be filled with thousands of Poppyscotland volunteers as the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal approaches its culmination.

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will join military and civic leaders, serving personnel and veterans at the Stone of Remembrance in Edinburgh at 11am on Sunday, with local Remembrance Sunday events taking place in communities across the country.