Radio 2

“British people are so grateful”

This time of year Ieper is a popular destination for Brits eager to commemorate a relative, who fell in the Great War.  As Belgium has been excluded for the UK’s travel corridors and anybody returning from Belgium will need to self-isolate many loyal British guests have cancelled their trip this year.  To allow loyal customers to honour their relatives this year Natasja Feliers of Ariane Hotel in Ieper and her staff are placing wooden crosses by their headstones instead.

War cemeteries across West Flanders stand immaculate thanks to the great work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but the many Brits who usually throng these places at this time of year have stayed away.  Natasja’s hotel is closed, but staff have volunteered to place wooden crosses with a traditional poppy by the headstones marking the grave of loyal guests’ relatives. 

Last year the hotel started the initiative for guests who could no longer make the journey, but this year the need is even greater.  210 people sent in a form seeking assistance to place a wooden cross at a relative’s headstone.

Some loyal guests even sent in requests for graves across the border in France, but these will have to wait until after Armistice Day.

“British people are so grateful” says Natasja.  “They set great store by tradition and are particularly faithful”.

Radio 2

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