The annual Remembrance Sunday service at the Uckfield memorial to Flt Lt Eugene Seghers will not take place this November.
Flt Lt Seghers was killed on July 26 when he saved the town from devastation from a V1 flying bomb.
Flying a Spitfire, he steered the ‘doodlebug’ away from Uckfield but it exploded and also destroyed the Belgian airman’s fighter.
Duncan Bennett, who led the community effort to mark the sacrifice of Flt Lt Seghers, announced the cancellation of this year’s event with “deep regret”.
He said: “Risk assessments for parades and gatherings are currently being scrutinised and the authorities are sadly recommending that events are severely pared back this year.
“This actually reinforces my own concerns regarding the risks posed by a local and national surge in Covid cases and the potential risk for those attending a formal memorial event, particularly our more vulnerable veterans.”
Cllr Bennett, a former deputy town mayor, said at past services he had often spoke of the sacrifices made to allow us to “live the way we wish”.
“In comparison, the missing out of the traditional gathering is a very small one to make, if it protects those who we care about.
“This in no way diminishes our acts of memorial and remembrance upon Remembrance Sunday, and I would ask each and all of you to strictly observe the two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour, regardless of where you are.”
Anyone wishing to place an item of remembrance at the memorial, which is in the grounds of the Highlands Inn at Ridgewood, are to observe all social distancing protocols.
“As we remember those who battled so courageously for us, let us harness some of their spirit to get through this rather different current battle, so that we can all gather once more in unity in 2021,” he said.
“Lest We Forget.”
From our files
It has become traditional for officers from the 5 (Maresfield) Squadron 11 (Royal School Signals) Signals Regiment to parade through Maresfield Park to the Remembrance Sunday service at the parish church.
They have been forced to pull out because of Covid-19, although two representatives will attend a service on the village recreation ground.
There will be no Remembrance Sunday service this year at Airman’s Grave on the Ashdown Forest.
Airman’s Grave is a memorial to the six-man crew of an RAF Bomber Command Wellington bomber which crashed in July 1941 returning from a raid on Cologne, Germany.
The memorial (the aircrew are not buried there) is a stone-walled enclosure with a white cross in a garden of remembrance. It can be found on the forest west of Duddleswell and was placed there by the mother of Sgt P.V.R. Sutton who was 24 when he died.