Here is what you can do during lockdown to celebrate VE Day

Victory for Europe Day, generally known as VE Day, takes place on Friday, May 8.

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Getty Images

And this year marks its 75th anniversary since it was announced that Nazi Germany had unconditionally surrendered, signalling the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Many streets, councils, and organisations had big plans to celebrate the day, but because of the current coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in a worldwide lockdown and strict social distancing rules, these have had to be cancelled or postponed.

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The Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity was planning a number of events, and still has a number of things it is hoping people will get involved with to celebrate and raise money for the charity. It will be hosting a VE Day online quiz on Friday, May 8 at 8.15pm through Zoom.

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The UK is also being asked to come together at 9pm to sing Dame Vera’s classic song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ outside their homes be that in their gardens or stood in the street.

“We’re so pleased that Dame Vera’s iconic song ‘We’ll Meet Again’ is once again helping the nation to get through these really troubling times and are looking forward to joining in the singing of that,” Pilar Cloud, executive manager from the charity, said.

The theme of the quiz will be VE Day and Ditchling resident Dame Vera related, and it is asking for donations for people happy to do that when they sign up for the quiz.

A number of different councils across the county are asking members of the public to have their own stay at home party. Flyers have been shared asking people to decorate their house in red, white and blue flags, enjoy a picnic in their own garden with good food and games and commemorate the anniversary with their family.

On the VE Day event website it wants people to undertake the ‘Nation’s Toast to the heroes of WW2’ at 3pm on May 8, from the safety of their own home by standing up and raise a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertake the following ‘toast’: “To those who gave so much, we thank you,” using this 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 today.

At 7.05pm town criers from around the UK are being asked to do the reading ‘Cry for Peace Around the World’ from home and live on Facebook.

The May Bank Holiday normally takes place on the first Monday of May but it has been moved to Friday, May 8, to mark the occasion.

In 1945 the community celebrated as 3.8million British men and 400,000 British women could begin to return to their homes and families, some for the first time in many years.

With many people planning alternative street parties in the homes and gardens, some have looked at other ways to commemorate the 75th anniversary.

Mid Sussex District Council is calling for submissions for a virtual memory bank to help commemorate VE Day.

Tributes and photos, memories, songs and stories of VE Day and what it means will be merged into a showreel and presented on the Council’s digital platforms. Recordings of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ can also be sent to form the soundtrack to the presentation.

For Mid Sussex Dictrict Council, send photos and poems for Mid Sussex Virtual VE Day to [email protected] or via the council’s Facebook channel. You can upload film or songs to a special form at www.midsussex.gov.uk/VE2020Deadline for submissions is Monday, May 4. The council will try to use as many as they can. Before submitting you must ensure you have permission for any items to be displayed publicly.

Horsham District Council is aiming to take its VE75 celebration event online. They are asking for contributions from people who had agreed to take part in their event to video material to be aired on Horsham.tv on Friday, May 8.

East Grinstead Town Council is asking residents to host their own stay at home parties, starting at 2.55pm with the playing of the Last Post. It is asking buglers, trumpeters and cornet players to consider playing the Last Post from the safety of their front or back garden, outside their front door or from their balcony or window. But it is asking people not to play in an area that could attract a group of people.

The Bluebell Railway VE event has been postponed.

Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum & Art Gallery have shared stories from the district including photographs taken by Marjorie Baker from Henfield.

The photographer was born in the village in 1912 and died there in 2004.

Her photographs after the Second World War captured villagers who served and survived, lived and loved during the war years.

Much of her work was given to Horsham Museum and Henfield Museum.

To commemorate the anniversary of VE Day Henfield Museum has a new costume display - ‘What We Wore in the War’.

It is a mixture of female uniforms from the WVS and the FANYS (First Aid Nursing Yeomanry), two items of Land Girl clothing, a fine wool day dress and WW2 era glove and dress patterns, plus a ‘parachute silk’ blouse and some very roomy cotton bloomers.

Local photographs add to the sense of history, as does a copy of the Parish magazine from June 1945 detailing the VE Day celebrations in Henfield.

The exhibition is due to run until January 2021.

Every day on its Facebook page the museum is sharing an item of clothing from its vast costume range including christening gowns and wedding dresses.

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