Anger after Audley Remembrance Day silence was three minutes 'too early'
A TWO-MINUTE silence has sparked a row – after a church was accused of holding its Remembrance Day tribute too early.
Pensioner John Garwood said he was 'disgusted' when St James's Church in Audley held the traditional period of silence three minutes before the clock struck 11am.
Now the retired joiner has made an official complaint to the Bishop of Lichfield about Sunday's service.
The 73-year-old is demanding a public apology after claiming the incident was an insult to his father, John, who died fighting in the Second World War.
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It has since been revealed the service was taken by an unknown retired clergyman, who was standing in for the church's usual vicar.
Mr Garwood, of Miles Green, Audley, said: "My father fought and lost his life in the war, as did many others.
"It is completely unacceptable that our service didn't fall in line with the rest of the country.
"Once the clock strikes 11, everyone falls silent. That is how it is supposed to be, but the vicar just did it when he wanted."
The father-of-three added: "I lay a wreath in memory of my father every year at the service and this has really upset me."
Scout leader Chris Symonds, of Wereton Road, who attended the service with 20 youngsters, said: "The vicar definitely held the two minute silence early.
"It seemed like the service finished early and everyone was getting restless, so he just did it early.
"I wasn't impressed. It is important to take part in a Remembrance service and this wasn't one of the best I've been to."
Ann Beech, of Bridgemere, who chairs the Children of Audley Residents Association, said: "People are saying it could be something to do with the fact it the clock was a little bit fast.
"Despite that, it was held a couple of minutes early so there was a lot of noise coming from one of the local shooting clubs which spoilt the service."
The first two-minute silence in Britain was held on November 11 1919, when King George V asked the public to observe a silence at 11am to mark one year after the end of the First World War.
The Archdeacon of Stoke, the Venerable Godfrey Stone, said the clergyman in question had apologised.
"We were very sorry to hear that the timing during the service upset Mr Garwood's commemoration of his father," he said.
"The service had been organised by the parish and taken by a retired but experienced clergyman.
"Despite the care taken in planning this type of service, things can sometimes go awry as happened on this occasion."