VE Day 75: Shropshire marks anniversary amid lockdown

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Residents across Shropshire are today marking the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. With many planned events not taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are still plenty of ways to mark the anniversary.

Local residents are being encouraged to dress their house, or front windows, with bunting, flags and children’s drawings.

Telford & Wrekin Council is holding a day of virtual events, more information can be found here and via an event facebook page.

In Wellington, the town council has adapted its plans to mark the 75th anniversary to comply with social distancing regulations – but is determined to observe the milestone despite lockdown.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a special day for Wellington residents so that we can all mark the anniversary of Victory in Europe,” explained Caroline Farrell, communications and events manager at Wellington Town Council.

Much Wenlock residents will also be marking the anniversary from their own homes and gardens including a flypast at 11.07am by an Avro Anson. A live stream of local events will be broadcast at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DraytonCrier/ from 10.40am.

Town Councillor Dan Thomas said: “Local residents are hoping for good weather so that they can have a picnic in their gardens at lunchtime, whilst observing social distancing rules. They are also being encouraged to make the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm.”

Ann Hartley, Chairman of Shropshire Council, added: “It’s so important that we continue to remember those who gave so much for us.

“There are many similarities in the struggles of the Second World War and what we are going through today. We’re facing some of the most challenging times since the Second World War came to an end in Europe and Japan. With the similarities between then and now, it is more important than ever that we come together to recognise the service to our nation, just as Shropshire communities did 75 years ago.

“I look forward to seeing what everyone is doing right across Shropshire, so please do share with us!”

The world’s oldest Supermarine Spitfire Mk1 on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is illuminated red, white and blue to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
The world’s oldest Supermarine Spitfire Mk1 on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford is illuminated red, white and blue to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The Royal Air Force Museum, the National Army Museum and the National Museum of the Royal Navy are joining forces to host their first tri-service celebration with a Virtual VE Day 75 Festival taking place online from 7-9 May 2020, bringing to life the stories of those who helped deliver Victory in Europe. Find out more about the Virtual VE Day 75 Festival at rafmuseum.org.

National Events

11am – The nation will come together for a moment of remembrance and a two-minute silence

11.15am British Legion’s livestream Grab a cup of tea as the British Legion brings the World War Two generation together with today’s generation to chat about their shared experiences.

2.45pm –  In a special programme on BBC One, extracts from Churchill’s victory speech to the nation announcing the end of the war in Europe will be broadcast.

2.55pm – Solo buglers, trumpeters and cornet players will be invited to play the Last Post from their homes.

3pm – As Churchill’s speech is broadcast, join others across Shropshire and the UK in the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2. From the safety of your own home, stand up and raise a glass of refreshment of your choice. This is a unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have.

8pm – A BBC One special will feature Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins, actor Adrian Lester and singer Beverley Knight, who will be performing some well-known songs from the 1930s and 40s. The programme will culminate in the nation being invited to sing along to a rendition of wartime classic We’ll Meet Again.

9pm – The Queen’s pre-recorded address will be broadcast on BBC One at the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years ago.

‘We’ll Meet Again’

Following the Queen’s address, the UK will come together for a rendition of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

You can watch and join in on BBC One, who will be featuring the singalong as part of their VE Day broadcast.

To encourage people to get involved on Friday, a host of celebrities have shared their renditions of the WW2 anthem – including Lesley Joseph, Antony Cotton, Dame Joan Collins, Bill Bailey, Simon Williams, Alison Steadman OBE, The Overtones, Ross Kemp, Elaine Paige OBE, Robert Glenister and Clarke Peters.

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Chris Pritchard
Chris Pritchard is Editor of Shropshire Live and lives in Shrewsbury. You can contact Chris by emailing chris.pritchard@shropshirelive.com or call 01743 818 095.
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