Pensioner rockets Brussels over EU Remembrance Day ban

NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall.

NRHNBE111220b1, Ripley town hall.

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A Ripley pensioner has been left dumfounded by EU regulations which have brought an Armistice Day tradition to an end.

Armistice Day rockets have been fired for years across Amber Valley to mark the beginning of the two-minute silence.

But under a new EU directive the company which supplies Amber Valley Borough Council with the fireworks has been banned from doing so.

Brussels law-makers say that anyone using the rockets, also known as ‘maroons’, must have undertaken training recognised within the fireworks industry beforehand.

Antoni Ross, 73, of Wood Street, said the move meant another nail in the coffin of the UK’s national heritage.

He added: “In the 1950s at Christmas I can remember looking around the dinner table as a young lad and every single person there was ex-military.

“Whether that was the women working at Chilwell Ordnance Factory or my father, who was in the Air Force, uncles who served in the Army and the Royal Navy or a cousin in the Royal Marines.

“I just hope that once we have left the EU this ruling can be reversed.”

Andy Hubble, director of Star Fireworks, which supplies the rockets, said the company had tried extremely hard to find a way around the problem but none had presented itself in time.

He added: “I know how important these rockets are and I have worked very hard to consider every possible solution including getting the latest guidance from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

“Naturally, with the approach of Brexit, it may be that the situation can be put back to how it used to be. This requires legislation though, and won’t happen overnight.”

Simon Gladwin, assistant director for landscapes, growth and community safety at Amber Valley Borough Council, said: “The council has used the rockets every year to mark the two-minute silence for a long time and we were very disappointed to receive this news.

“But to provide this training is no small thing and would not have been practical.”