Nearly a year in advance the British Government announced that the May Bank Holiday – traditionally the first Monday in May – would be moved to Friday 8 May 2020. This was in order to have the public holiday coincide with the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe, when the guns fell silent after years of terror and destruction. The holiday was conceived as the first of three days of national celebration to give thanks for a generation who fought for our freedom a quarter of a century ago.
Back in 1945, millions of people came together in the streets in joyful celebration. At the same time there was heartache: grief for the lives lost and thoughts of loved ones still fighting on the other side of the globe. (It would be another three months before the Allies achieved victory over Japan, bringing the Second World War to a close in mid August.)
Sadly, the international lockdown brought about by the Covid-19 Coronavirus has meant the cancellation of all official events to mark #VEDay75. Local communities have had to follow suit. However, many are finding ways to come together virtually in a show of gratitude to those who gave so much for future generations.
Celebrating VE Day in the RG10 area
Wargrave had been due to hold a VE Day Festival – with Mill Green filled with tables welcoming families in 1940s fancy dress for a mass picnic, PTA bar and children’s entertainment throughout the afternoon. Now the event has been renamed a VE Day Stay-at-Home Party, with residents encouraged to decorate their homes red, white and blue and to hold a picnic in their front garden at 1pm. It’s the Wargrave branch of the Royal British Legion behind the initiative.
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Hurst villagers will also be festooning their homes with red, white and blue bunting and enjoying the company of their neighbours – at a safe distance of course – by picnicking in their own front gardens. So this is another RG10 community celebrating a VE Day Stay-at-Home Party.
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Knowl Hill residents are also looking forward to a VE Day Stay-at-Home Party, raising a glass or mug to their neighbours between 1pm and 2pm as they enjoy their own red/white/blue front garden picnics.
Twyford is having a collective VE Day Garden Party around the village, with the option for households to support local businesses by ordering in their afternoon tea and tipples. Local caterer Emma (of Emma’s Kitchen fame) is taking orders for a range of freshly prepared sandwiches, rolls and cakes, supplemented by beers from Binghams Brewery and wines from Stanlake Park. The idea for the celebrations came from Twyford Together.
Join the event on Facebook.
More VE Day information and links
Royal British Legion – https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/
BBC local radio ‘Make a Difference’: instructions and templates for making your own bunting – https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4TrqYDyf4PMdLypxzyTwGDg/great-british-bunting
Observe two minutes’ silence at 11am on Friday 8 May in remembrance of those who gave their lives in WW2
Follow the British Legion’s livestream from 11:15 to 12:00, featuring stories shared between the WW2 generation and people experiencing challenges today. https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-75-livestream
Consider taking part in a live charity quiz night such as this one at 8pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/242447806965244/
VE Day We’ll meet again singalong 9pm BBC1 on Friday 8 May: download the lyrics – https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/ve-day-singalong
Here’s the young Vera Lynn performing it in the film of the same name, 1943. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5C4meGkNyc&feature=youtu.be