THIS week's Remembrance service at Undercliffe Cemetery has been cancelled because of high Covid cases in the area.

The service, which traditionally takes place at the Cross of Sacrifice in the historic cemetery, usually attracts hundreds of people, including military veterans and schoolchildren. But Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery chairman Allan Hillary said public safety concerns had led to the decision to hold the ceremony online instead.

"I am very saddened about it, especially as we had to hold a virtual service last year too, but it is a question of duty of care," said Mr Hillary. "The event attracts a mix of elderly people and schoolchildren and with Covid cases rising we felt it wasn't safe to go ahead. The problem is that the cemetery lodge is small and the space around the Cross of Sacrifice gets cramped. We usually have between 200-400 people at the Remembrance service.

"We invited 11 schools from a wide area, including Carlton Bolling, Bradford Grammar and Idle schools. We feel it's important to have young people because they are the succession; the ones who will continue to remember and honour those who served in conflict. But we felt we couldn't accommodate so many people.

"We just couldn't see how we could act responsibly and keep everyone safe. We don't have the resources for things like providing and sanitising portable toilets, and how can we police social distancing?"

The service was due to take place on Thursday at 11am. Now a pre-recorded ceremony will be shown on the charity's website. "Last year's virtual ceremony was very well viewed. This year's service will be led by Geoff Reid, with the Lord Mayor of Bradford saying a few words of introduction, and an address from myself," said Mr Hillary. "Last year about 30 people still came along to the cemetery and we took wreaths and laid them at the Cross of Sacrifice, which we will do this year too."

Undercliffe Cemetery has 144 official war graves and several hundred other military graves, many of First World War servicemen buried there or remembered on family plots. Other graves bear the names of soldiers from the Second World War and other conflicts. Volunteers have also unearthed the grave of a man who fought at the Battle of Waterloo and died aged 92.

As part of the centenary of the start of the First World War, the Friends of Undercliffe Cemetery joined forces with the British Legion, local schools, community groups and businesses to tell the stories of the Bradford Pals and other regiments.

The project, 'Thinking About WW1 at Undercliffe Cemetery, has recorded for future generations the details and stories of these men and women and the archive is available for young people today. The project started in 2014 with an open day for people to share memorabilia, photographs and stories, culminating in a trail and booklet called 'Listen to Our Stories'.

Guided tours of the cemetery, held several times a year, include talks on the military graves and war heroes. The tours also include a look at the six monuments listed by English Heritage, some of the site's most prominent graves and special areas such as the Quaker burial plot.

* Undercliffe Cemetery's Remembrance Service will be shown on Thursday at 11am at