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Anger over Armistice traffic

PUBLISHED: 14:09 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 14:48 07 July 2010

Anger is growing that traffic was not stopped during the Armistice Day two minutes' silence in Dereham town centre.

Many people among the estimated 200-strong crowd which gathered at the memorial at the top of the Market Place were amazed and angry that cars, lorries and buses kept driving round while the heads were bowed in the act of remembrance.

Anger is growing that traffic was not stopped during the Armistice Day two minutes' silence in Dereham town centre.

Many people among the estimated 200-strong crowd which gathered at the memorial at the top of the Market Place were amazed and angry that cars, lorries and buses kept driving round while the heads were bowed in the act of remembrance.

One car even hooted its horn during the silence as the driver was frustrated that another car tried to stop as a mark of respect.

Rowland Hall, president of the Dereham and District RBL branch, said: “We are very, very disappointed that the roads were not shut. I wrote to the police to ask them to shut the roads and went in the station to check it would be done. It is disgusting.”

He said the traffic had been stopped for the parade on Sunday, but Armistice Day was the most important event.

“Two minutes in anyone's lives will not hurt anybody.”

Peter Sheldrake, chairman of the Royal Air Forces Association Dereham and Swaffham branch, said: “I think it is absolutely disgusting that at the remembrance day ceremony, two police officers stood by whilst traffic continued to pass around the war memorial.

“This is particularly annoying after the splendid job they did on Sunday morning.

“The fact so many drivers failed to stop, coupled with the theft of three poppy collection boxes from premises in Dereham, is a sad reflection upon this town.”

Rod Fearnley, who was in the Royal Navy, added: “I attended the War Memorial for the remembrance service in Dereham. To my utter dismay for some people those few minutes were an inconvenience as they continued to drive their cars, vans and lorries around the memorial, even whilst the service was being held.

“It took a foreign lorry driver to recognise the service and stop, holding up the traffic from that direction. For those drivers who didn't stop, feel ashamed? You should.”

Two police officers had gone down to the Market Place but did not stop traffic as a closure order had not been put in place.

Sgt Terry Scott, of Dereham Police, said: “We apologise for any distress caused. We will ensure it does not happen again.”

Meanwhile, there was also upset in Fakenham that people talked during the silence in Fakenham.

Andrew Codling said: “I wonder anyone out there could explain to me why it is ok to talk through a two minutes silence in remembrance of those killed in conflicts? My wife works in the restaurant at Aldiss of Fakenham, and could only watch in disbelief as a group of pensioners no less, sat talking through the two minute silence after it had been announced over the tannoy, not to mention the lady who waved money in the face of my wife's colleague as she was observing the silence. Those people are in my opinion an utter disgrace in not showing the respect that our ancestors deserve, to top it all the pensioners were wearing poppies.”

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