A Torridge district councillor is set to represent the region in London this Remembrance Sunday.

Councillor Michael Clarke is one of around 30 people to be invited to the scaled-back national remembrance service at the Cenotaph in the capital on November 8.

He will represent Torridge District Council as Armed Forces Covenant Champion and as North Devon Secretary of the Merchant Navy Association.

Cllr Clarke is a regular attendee at the parade, and was honoured to be asked to be Parade Marshall for the association members in 2019.

He joined the Merchant Navy as a catering boy in 1966 at the age of 15, and worked his way up through the ranks to become a restaurant manager, chef, and bar manager.

He has continued to be involved in naval activities as Commanding Officer of Bideford and District Sea Cadets, and as a Royal Naval Reservist.

Councillor Clarke said: “I am once again honoured to be part of this year’s event and to be selected to join the much smaller gathering at the cenotaph.

“While it is a shame we cannot all be together physically this year I am sure others will join me in spirit to remember and honour the sacrifice made by all involved in the two World Wars and later conflicts.

“I am also keen to continue to champion the rights of veterans through our council being a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant and will be looking to strengthen our commitment to that in the coming year and engaging with others, including local businesses, to help veterans make the transition from service back to a civilian life. They have earned and deserve our support.”

Around 10,000 people usually gather at the Cenotaph each year for the National Service of Remembrance and the two minute silence at 11am.

This year, for the first time in history, the event will be closed to members of the public in line with the latest expert medical and scientific advice.

The service is expected to go ahead with representatives of the Royal Family, the Government and the Armed Forces, and a small representation from the Commonwealth, other countries and territories, all laying wreaths at the Cenotaph.

The annual march past the Cenotaph will not take place, but some veterans are invited to attend the service, which will be made Covid-secure by minimising attendance and ensuring strict social distancing measures are in place.