A REMEMBRANCE Sunday service is set to be overshadowed by a row between council chiefs and the Royal British Legion.

Marc Pidsley, secretary of the Lymington branch of the Legion, has launched legal action against a leading member of the town council and the authority’s top officer.

It follows a row two months ago over claims that council staff were paid to attend the town’s Remembrance service last year.

In a letter to the authority Mr Pidsley said: “Respect is earned, and to ensure that Lymington and Pennington Town Council don’t lose whatever respect they now have among many of the community we would earnestly suggest that no one is paid to attend.

"Those that feel they should be paid to attend are not really welcome.”

But town clerk Steve Cridland criticised the claims at the September meeting of the council.

Councillor Alan Penson, chairman of the policy and resources committee, described them as “scurrilous, libellous and untrue”.

Now Mr Pidsley is suing Mr Cridland and Cllr Penson for defamation. His decision to launch legal action against the two men was discussed at a meeting of councillors.

According to the minutes, Cllr Penson said the national Royal British Legion “totally disassociated” itself from Mr Pidsley’s actions “and apologises to the town council, the town clerk and anyone else who feels aggrieved”.

Last night Mr Cridland declined to discuss the issue, which is in the hands of the council’s solicitors.

Staff at the Royal British Legion headquarters in London said they were unable to talk about an ongoing legal issue.

Mr Pidsley and Cllr Penson were unavailable for comment.

For a list or Remembrance Services across the south click here