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Warrington Borough Council is helping make sure people have plenty of ways to celebrate VE Day, despite the coronavirus lockdown.
May 8th is the 75th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day, marking the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender in 1945.
Due to the current restrictions, VE75 events and street parties across the country have had to be cancelled or postponed, but you can still mark the occasion, share your pride in our country and the efforts of all the allies in defeating this tyrannical fascist regime, and honour the men and women of World War II.
The council has put together a range of ideas, tips and resources at warrington.gov.uk/ve-day-at-home to inspire people to create their own ‘stay at home’ VE Day celebration.
The site includes links to:
• Step-by-step instructions on making your own special VE75 ‘Great British Bunting’ to display in your window at home, as well as colouring posters for children
• Wartime recipe ideas, including spam hash and homity pie
• A special World War II playlist on Spotify
• A VE75 Party Pack from English Heritage, which includes a poster, 1940’s recipes, lyrics to 1940’s songs and a ‘how-to’ guide to dancing the Lindy Hop Swing.
• A free online VE75 Festival, with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum joining forces to bring to life the stories of those who helped deliver Victory in Europe
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for culture, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “Right now, it’s really important that people engage in cultural and heritage events. This hugely significant VE Day gives us the perfect opportunity to do this.
“There are lots of ways you can get involved in the day, from making your own bunting and cooking up a World War II menu, to following the commemorations on the TV and online, and joining in a sing-along. I hope people will enter into the spirit of the celebrations and make VE75 a day to remember.”
The council’s VE75 web page also provides full details of how you can follow celebrations and tributes throughout the day on the BBC and social media:
• 11.00am – the nation observes a two-minute silence
• 11.15am – VE75 livestream, on the Royal British Legion Facebook page, which will see TV presenter Sonali Shah, bringing different generations together to share experiences, stories and memories.
• 2.45pm - A special tribute to the Second World War generation, including Churchill’s powerful address to the nation, stirring military music, moving personal testimony and readings from VIPS and celebrities.
• 8pm - an evening of memories and music featuring some of those who remember this historic day, and some of Britain’s favourite performers singing popular songs of the era.
• 9pm - Her Majesty the Queen’s address to the nation, followed by a fitting finale, with the nation asked to unite for a very special rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ as a gesture of thanks to our veterans and in memory of our loved ones. You can find the words to the song at britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-singalong
• 9.10pm - Remembering Victory - a programme commemorating VE Day in 1945.
Warrington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for leisure and community, Cllr Tony Higgins, said: “This year marks an important milestone for VE Day and I hope that, despite the current lockdown, the people of Warrington will take an active role in the celebrations.
“While we can't have street parties, there are still lots of ways to celebrate that won't break social distancing rules, while giving us all a sense of pride, togetherness and community spirit.
“Let’s all play our part in celebrating VE75 and remembering the key role Warrington people played in World War II.”
Janice Hayes, Honorary Heritage Curator Culture Warrington and Heritage Ambassador for Warrington, said: “On 8 May 1945, Warrington enthusiastically began several days of celebration marking the first stages of a return to normal life.
“Since 1939 people had lived with the ever present threat of regular enemy air raids, had to carry gas masks for personal protection and queued for rationed food and other essentials. Many worried about family members in danger on active service whilst local celebrations like Walking Day had been cancelled.
“By early May the town was anticipating the gradual removal of restrictions on daily life. Even though the global war was not yet over people at last had hope of normality.”
Get involved in the VE75 celebrations by visiting warrington.gov.uk/ve-day-at-home
For the latest information on coronavirus in Warrington, please visit warrington.gov.uk/coronavirus