With the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) taking place this Friday (8 May), Lincolnshire residents are being encouraged to mark the occasion at home and connect with their communities virtually since events, from parades to parties, have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
The date recognises the moment in 1945 when the Allied Forces formally accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
Across the nation
At 11am there will be a 2 minute silence across the country, while at 3pm the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WWII will take place, using the following words: “TO THOSE WHO GAVE SO MUCH, WE THANK YOU.” A speech from the Queen will then be broadcast at 9pm – the same time King George VI, her father, made a radio address in 1945 to announce victory in Europe – after which the country is invited to sing along to Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
In the county
Councils and groups across the county are putting together resources to spur on the celebrations.
South Kesteven District Council is looking to mark the milestone by raising awareness of the district’s unique contribution to the war, sharing stories, photographs, and film clips from the past and the present.
It will also share ideas to inspire celebrations and home-based VE Day parties, get people cooking wartime dishes, watch some amazing films, get busy with bunting and find out more about what happened in South Kesteven during the war.
District aviation and airborne forces heritage will be shared on social media platforms to add a special local angle to national commemorations, along with ideas for home-based parties and activities, flashback imagery of key events and commemorations.
Cllr Kelham Cooke, Leader of SKDC, said: “We have such a proud and distinguished WWII heritage in our district, as we saw last year with the 75th anniversary celebrations of D-Day. It is important to remember and celebrate our heritage, paying tribute to the resilience of local people, and those from other countries, who fought together to bring the war to an end.
“There are many events that would have been held throughout South Kesteven if we were not in the midst of a very different battle, but that should not stop our residents from paying their respects and celebrating a very poignant day.”
South Holland District Council and Ayscoughfee Hall meanwhile have created a pack full of inventive ways for everyone to celebrate together, whilst remaining apart and safely at home.
A handful of resources including a digital newsletter will be available on Asycoughfee Hall’s Twitter and Facebook pages, with word searches, popular 1940s films to watch and much more to get involved with. Residents can also find typical 1940s recipes to make the perfect tea party and picnic, a step-by-step guide on how to make special bunting for the occasion, and even some wartime-era singalongs.
There is also plenty of information about the history of VE Day and its importance for anyone wanting to learn more, or for some special home schooling sessions, and a transcript of the victory speech given by then Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill.
On the Council’s social media channels there are interviews with Squadron Leader Mark Discombe, Officer Commanding of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby, most recently seen flying the Hurricane for Colonel Tom Moore’s 100th birthday flypast. In the videos he discusses what it’s like to fly WWII planes, how they differ from today’s aircraft and also some history on their role in winning the war.
Councillor Paul Redgate, South Holland District Council Vice-Chairman, reaffirmed the relevance and importance of the date, saying: “It’s poignant that the 8 May is the 75th anniversary of VE Day. As we look back then as a nation we are a hardy, determined, strong bunch of people and as we look at this crisis now, there are very similar parallels.
“It is important we acknowledge and recognise the efforts that happened 75 years ago and take time to remember and also rejoice in all the things around it. As part of the anniversary we would like to encourage people to decorate their homes and gardens, and still make it a special day in these very challenging circumstances.”
Boston Borough Council is asking residents to decorate their gardens and houses in red, white and blue as part of a borough-wide stay-at-home party.
The Biz Boston will be putting on singing performances throughout the day, and Boston Jives will show their virtual moves so you can dance on the decking or pirouette on the patio. The Council will also be sharing craft ideas so you can get creative.
Cllr David Brown, portfolio holder for tourism, arts, culture and heritage, said: “We may be in lockdown, but we can still celebrate this important anniversary and commemorate those who gave their lives.
“We can’t be together, but I know that won’t stop our communities putting the flags out and making the day special.”