VIRTUAL and socially distanced services were held across Bolton today to mark Remembrance Sunday.

All services and gatherings had to be cancelled across the borough due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions, with virtual and online services held in their place.

Bolton Council held an online service which included readings from the mayor, the council leader, the Vicar of Bolton, and military leaders.

It also included pictures and videos of wreath laying across the borough and different acts of remembrance this year.

The Mayor of Bolton, Cllr Linda Thomas, opened Bolton Council’s virtual service, saying: “As Mayor of Bolton I would like to welcome you to Bolton’s virtual remembrance service.

"I know it’s been a testing time over the last six months for all of us and having to adapt to a new way of life.

"Who would have thought we would have been doing a virtual remembrance service but nevertheless we do have to do what is best to beat this pandemic and to protect ourselves and everyone else.

“Despite the lockdown and restrictions, Bolton could not let this important annual commemoration pass without at least some recognition and also importantly to remember the fallen and all those that are, and were affected by conflict around the world.

“This year has also seen the 75th anniversary of VE and VJ day and the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain for which Bolton commemorated these dates virtually and with very small services where possible. All I can hope is that next year the pandemic subsides and we are able to meet again.”

This was followed by the leader of Bolton Council, David Greenhalgh, reading from the Hall of Memories in Bolton Town Hall.

Westhoughton Town Mayor, Cllr David Wilkinson, laid a wreath at a war memorial in Westhoughton.

He said: "I’ve had the privilege of laying the wreath on behalf of the town as the town mayor. Normally at the memorial there would be over 1,000 people at the Remembrance Day service. Due to coronavirus it’s completely different but it does not lessen our remembrance of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and have served their country.”