THE COUNCIL has been criticised for leaving elderly men and women out in the cold after this year’s Remembrance Day commemorations.

Serving firefighter Andrew Jones has spoke of his disappointment about the organisation of the event, held on Sunday, November 10.

“This was the worst service I have taken part in for 13 years. Some serious changes need to be made next year,” he wrote in a complaint to Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Mr Jones said he was stunned that the authority hadn’t provided a marquee or a place for the elderly to warm up after a chilly parade.

“I was very disappointed in the day. The service was good and reflected on the fallen but many aspects of the organisation were very poor,” he said.

The fireman pointed out the march from the parade to the top car park was shorter than previous years.

He said there was “meaningless” mentions of “hash tags” during the talk from the church.

“There was nowhere for people to warm up again after the parade. There used to be teas and coffees in the civic offices and a tent outside, now nothing.

“I’m not worried about myself but a lot of elderly men and women, many of whom are veterans, need somewhere to get warm again and feel as though they are getting something back,” he said.

Speaking to the Gazette, Mr Jones added: “It showed a lack of respect. I just want to know why the council has changed it. Is it to do with cut-backs?”

Mr Jones was not the only person to raise concern about the matter.

Cllr Diane Taylor, the town's mayor, said: “Our annual Remembrance Day service is an important event to commemorate the sacrifice of local servicemen and others who fought in the First and Second World Wars and more recent conflicts.“In recent years we have seen an increase in the number of people attending the service, making it a challenge to safely fit everyone around the war memorial. In response to this, we made changes to the service including altering the route of the parade to go through War Memorial Park.

“Our Parklands and Deane buildings were open for those who may have needed them and this was announced at the start of the service.

“We are always happy to receive any feedback and we will ensure we improve the signage on site for the event next year.”