Nautilus Mariners' Park residents have taken the decision to sacrifice their annual commemoration of Wartime sacrifices of Merchant Navy crew on VJ Day this year, as they continue to embrace pandemic social distancing restrictions to avoid any potential further risks.
Normally, the Union's Merseyside welfare centre holds a service to pay tribute to the merchant seafarers who were involved in the British and Commonwealth campaign in the Far East – which continued for three months after the Second World War came to an end in Europe.
A former Mariners' Park resident Captain Ronald Pengelly – who was awarded both the Burma and Pacific Stars – was instrumental in launching the annual service in 2013. Capt Pengelly died in 2016 but is regularly remembered at the services.
Nautilus Welfare Fund manager Mick Howarth said: 'I am pleased to say all residents and staff at Mariners’ Park are Covid-free. But while things are slowly getting back to normal, at the residents' request, we have dropped the VJ event this year normally held on 15 August, as it was also quite close to the Merchant Navy Day.
'We may consider a scaled down Merchant Navy day event with social distancing, but we need to consider if we can do this safely, so no decisions have been made about that yet.'
In line with government guidelines, shielding has now paused at the estate. In addition to being in a specific 'Social Bubble' with another household, residents can meet up with another household, indoors or outdoors, and can have overnight visitors or stay overnight elsewhere, but in meeting other households, everyone at the park continues to observe 'Social Distance' guidelines.
Residents can also go shopping and access pubs, cafes and leisure facilities again whilst observing social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering in shops.
For the 75th VJ Day anniversary, the British Legion is heralding the untold stories of British and Commonwealth Tri-Service Forces, at a commemoration at the National Memorial Arboretum (NMA), but also due to current pandemic guidance it will not be open to general site visitors.
The commemoration will be centred around the Act of Remembrance at 11:00 hrs and will be broadcast on BBC One from the NMA. It will include veteran testimonies and music from military musicians as well as wreath-laying activities. A limited number of tickets will be available via the NMA website from Monday 3 August on a first-come, first-served basis.
Maritime charity column: still a long way from normal at Nautilus Mariners' Park by Mick Howarth, Fund welfare manager
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