How to mark VE Day in south Norfolk
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Three quarters of a century after German surrender, people across south Norfolk are set to commemorate a momentous day in British history.
VE Day, May 8, celebrates the moment Nazi forces laid down their weapons towards the end of the Second World War.
The day itself in 1945 saw prime minister Winston Churchill make a radio announcement at 3pm to tell the nation that the war in Europe had come to an end.
While the traditional array of parades, parties and services will not be going ahead this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, communities are still being encouraged to get involved.
Harleston is among the towns leading the charge with Friday’s celebrations, having seen its scheduled extravaganza of festivities cancelled.
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Organisations including Redenhall with Harleston Town Council, Harleston’s Future and Harleston’s Kindness Help Hub are urging everyone to participate in the VE Day ‘Stay at Home Party’ alongside their neighbours.
The town’s Royal British Legion branch is ensuring all military veterans are aware of the festivities, while the town crier will be making his voice heard from isolation.
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Picnics are being offered to veterans and the vulnerable, with fruit donated by Budgens and other items by The Swan Hotel.
The aforementioned groups are also encouraging families to join in with a singalong rendition of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ at 3pm, before a toast to the end of the war at 7pm.
Meanwhile, Revd Matthew Jackson - rector at St Mary’s Attleborough - is marking VE Day by walking a marathon in the rectory garden to raise money for Christian Aid and Help for Heroes.
His £1,000 target has already been reached, but the task will not be complete until Revd Jackson has trekked 270 laps of the garden.
Over in south west Norfolk, haulage company Chris Riches Transport will continue spreading cheer in Thetford by driving their decorated, musical lorries around the town from 1pm to 6pm.
And across the border, in Brandon, the Royal British Legion is encouraging people to join in with the stay at home street party and decorate their homes red, white and blue.
Graham Minshull, chairman of South Norfolk Council, added: “We are encouraging everyone to stay safe and commemorate VE Day from their own home using the fantastic resources available from the VE Day website.
“We are also asking everyone to participate in the ‘Nation’s Toast’ at 3pm to say thank you to all those who gave so much during the Second World War. It doesn’t matter if it’s a glass of wine or a cup of tea - it all counts.”
While all traditional VE Day events have been postponed, it is hoped they may instead take place in August around VJ Day.