A NORMANDY veteran has slammed the Remembrance Sunday parade plans for York as an "insult to the city and its veterans".

Ken Cooke spoke out after discovering the parade through the city centre will be led by a brass band instead of a military band, as normally happens.

The Railway Institute Band will provide the music for the parade from Clifford’s Tower and then for the ceremony at the Memorial Gardens in Leeman Road.

Mr Cooke, 92, from the Hull Road area, said: “It’s a military city and a military occasion and I think it’s an insult to the city and an insult to the veterans.”

Mr Cooke stressed that he liked brass band music and said Sunday's band was a good one. However, he believed it was simply more fitting and appropriate for a military band to lead such a parade.

He also complained that when veterans joined the parade each year, having waited in Stonegate for it to pass by through St Helen’s Square, they had to join it so far back from the band that they couldn’t hear the music.

Fellow veteran Ken Smith backed his concerns, saying: “It’s a poor do if they can’t provide a military band.” He said he suspected its absence might be down to national cutbacks which had reduced the number of such bands in existence.

But City of York Council, which organises the city’s annual parade, said it always worked to make sure it was a fitting tribute to past and present service personnel.

And a spokesman said: “The army in the region often provide a band for the parade but were unable to do so this year due to commitments in other towns and cities across Yorkshire.

“The military took this decision in the knowledge that York often has the opportunity to hear the military band at differing Royal salutes throughout the year.”

He said that the city’s veterans joined the parade at Stonegate to allow as many to take part in the procession as possible, whilst ensuring they were safe and comfortable.

“I hope that we will once again see a great turnout for the parade on Sunday to commemorate the contribution of military and civilian servicemen and women.”

The parade, which will depart from Clifford’s Tower at 10.30am, will include serving military personnel from all the services and regiments from across the city, together with civilian organisations, including Scouts, Guides and St John Ambulance.

The service in the gardens will start with the firing of a minute gun to denote a two minute silence. There will be prayers and wreath laying by representatives of organisations from across the city, led by the Lord Lieutenant for North Yorkshire followed by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Barbara Boyce.