PERSHORE’S Royal Naval Association (RNA) hopes “lessons can be learned” after a row over veterans attending Remembrance Day gatherings boiled over.

RNA secretary Gordon King said his organisation had not been contacted by Pershore Town Council before being told by the Royal British Legion that police would stop war heroes turning up due to Covid restrictions.

Mr King was then contacted by Pershore mayor Chris Parsons, at 9.30 on Remembrance Day morning (Wednesday, November 11) who cited a communication error.

RNA chairman Len Hutton was scathing on Facebook, criticising what he saw as veterans being “ignored” and having to “take a back seat” and Mr King argued the matter should have been handled far better.

“The chairman of the RBL had contacted the council and was told we could not attend and that police would be on the gates to turn us back,” he said.

“The mayor got in touch to say that information was incorrect. I think we could have been contacted beforehand if they had planned to exclude the veterans so we could make representation.

“It was resolved, not to our satisfaction, we had our own remembrance at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Let’s hope Covid will come to end and that will make it the end of the matter but we very much hope that lessons can be learned. That would be nice.”

Council clerk Ann Dobbins said she had attempted to get in touch as soon as policy over the gathering had been set and that there had been no plans to exclude the RNA.

“It took a considerable amount of time to get in touch with the RNA and as soon as we did, they were told they would be welcome,” she said.

“We cannot account for what the Legion might have said but at no point did the town council involve the police. We had concerns over social distancing after what we had seen on Facebook but that was handled by two members of staff who took track and trace details.”