Exmouth annual 9/11 service is cancelled for 2020 because of Covid restrictions

The annual 9/11 service held in Exmouth to remember those killed in the Twin Towers terrorist attack has been cancelled because of the coronavirus.

Organiser Dave Morley, who recently took over the ceremony reins from Lionel Howell, said he hopes the service will return in 2021, in time for people to mark the 20th anniversary of the 2001 New York terrorist attacks.

Prior to the Covid-cancelled event, Exmouth residents have annually paid their respects, going to Phear Park since 2001 to remember those killed on 9/11.

Dave Morley, a retired Exmouth firefighter, said: “Unfortunately the fire crews, buglers and pipers cannot attend the 9/11 service in Phear Park this year.

“I wouldn’t like anyone to make a wasted trip expecting us all to be in attendance.”

He added: “Thanks to Lionel Howell for organising the memorial and service from the beginning. He has now passed the baton to me.

“I hope to be able to organise an event for the twentieth anniversary next year.”

Exmouth immediately paid its respects to the 9/11 victims in 2001, straight after the Twin Towers fell, laying flowers on the town’s war memorial.

In 2003 the Phear Park 9/11 memorial stone arrived in Exmouth, thanks to the town’s now-retired charity champion, Lionel Howell.

Lionel, of Bidmead, Littleham, campaigned for a piece of metal girder from the South Tower to be brought over to Devon and set in resin and granite as a permanent tribute.

Speaking before last year’s memorial service, Lionel said it ‘was lovely’ to see the town continue to remember the victims of the terrorist attack, nearly 20 years on.

Lionel said: “The memorial started on the actual day when we heard it (9/11 attacks) on the radio.

“We rushed out and got a couple of bunches of flowers and put them on the war memorial.

“We didn’t have the 9/11 memorial then. There were two or three of us who went to the park with flowers.

“Altogether there were eight or nine people who went out to Phear Park to give five or ten minutes of their time.”

When the blackened piece of steel arrived in Exmouth it had a ‘vivid’ smell of smoke.

It was embedded in clear resin and held in granite, surrounded by the badges and emblems of the emergency services here and in New York.

In 2007, Exmouth’s 9/11 service include the rededication of the park’s memorial when it was returned to Phear Park after repairs were made to the resin and a medic badge was added to the emblems.

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