Countdown to VE 75 begins

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25 October 2019
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Preparations for the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe day are gathering pace.
Countdown to VE 75 begins Images

After the Government moved the May bank holiday to Friday, 8 May, to help commemorate VE 75, more events are being planned and the call has gone out to get involved. VEDay75 in May 2020 will be a three-day national and international event that is set to be one of the biggest commemorations of the end of World War II in Europe. Tens of thousands of people will be taking part from 8-10 May 2020 in a whole range of inclusive events:

 

  • Buglers playing the Last Post and Reveille from the top of the Four Peaks and at many other locations around the world.
  • Pipers playing the tunes Battle’s O’er and VE 75 Years.
  • The nation’s toast to the heroes of World War II in pubs and bars around the country.
  • Ringing out for Peace in churches and cathedrals.
  • Street parties and celebrations at pubs, clubs, hotels, village greens and halls.
  • Services of commemoration and celebration in churches, including the reading of a Tribute to the Millions and the playing of the Last Post and Reveille.

Here’s the programme so far for VE Day 75:

 

Friday 8 May 2020 (Bank Holiday)

2.55pm – The Last Post is played at the Four Peaks and five other locations of the United Kingdom

Individual members of the Air Training Corps, Army Cadets, Sea Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force will play The Last Post at the top of the four highest peaks in the UK, a feat never undertaken before.

The Last Post will also be played at five of the most widespread locations of the UK – Land’s End, Cornwall; Lowestoft, Suffolk; St David’s, Pembrokeshire, Wales; the Scottish island of Unst, and Enniskillen Castle, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, and the Tan Hill Inn, Richmond, North Yorkshire.

3.00pm – The Playing of Battle’s O’er and VE 75 Years

Thousands of pipers around the world will play Battle’s O’er, a traditional air performed on the bagpipes at the end of a battle, and the specially composed tune VE 75 Years. It was at 3pm on 8 May 1945 that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that the war was over. Individual pipers will play this haunting air at the top of the four highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Scafell Pike, England; Mount Snowdon, Wales, and Slieve Donnard, Northern Ireland.

At the same time, thousands of other pipers will perform it at locations throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and in countries such as Australia, Canada, the USA, Germany, South Africa, Belgium, Holland, France, Spain and Denmark. The tune will be played outside churches and cathedrals, in market squares and on high streets, in valleys, on town and village greens, in schools and colleges, in hospitals, on ships and in shops, hospitals, factories and offices. Pipers will briefly halt their working day to pay this tribute and to reflect.

3.00pm – The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War II

To coincide with the playing of Battle’s O’er, and in association with the British Beer and Pub Association and its members, thousands of pubs throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will be asking their customers to raise a glass at 3pm and take part in The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War II, a copy of which can be downloaded here. It will be a chance for the customers of more than 20,000 UK pubs to remember the sacrifice of those who died or were wounded.

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6.55pm (local time) – A Cry for Peace Around the World

Town criers and other people around the world will be undertaking a special international Cry for Peace Around the World in all manner of locations, starting off in New Zealand. You don’t have to be a town crier to take part. The many thousands of pubs throughout the United Kingdom will be encouraged to ring their pub bells and invite a member of their local community to undertake the Cry for Peace Around the World at this time too.

7.00pm – Ringing out for Peace

In association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, bells in cathedrals, churches and other locations will ring out at 7pm in a collective celebration of peace. The sound of bells is deeply rooted in British culture, providing the soundtrack to historic moments – calling us to pray, to work, to arms, to celebrate and, in times of crisis, to come together.

Church bells will be rung throughout our nation and around the world in celebration of the peace and friendships we share today.

7.00pm onwards – Parties and Celebration

In association with the National Association of Local Councils and One Voice Wales, town and parish councils and local communities are being encouraged to organise celebrations and parties in streets and neighbourhoods, on town and village greens, and in pubs, clubs and hotels.

It’s a chance to bring communities together in common friendship. Towns and cities twinned with those overseas may consider inviting them to join in the celebrations, providing an opportunity to reinforce international bonds and reflect on the importance of peace on the occasion of this important anniversary.

Saturday 9 May 2020

Enjoy a whole day of celebrations and parties. The weekend offers the chance to organise something really special to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Expect parties galore in streets, neighbourhoods, schools and village halls, perhaps with food and dress reflecting the 1940s. Wartime loaf, eggless sponge cake, vegetable turnovers, curried carrots and Lord Woolton pie. And don’t forget the Spam!

Sunday 10 May 2020

10.30am – Church Services of Celebration and Commemoration

Services will take place in cathedrals and churches throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in celebration of the peace we share today. We will remember those who lost their lives or returned home dreadfully wounded and pay tribute to those who put their lives on hold at home to keep the nation fed and the factories, mines and hospitals working, many of them not knowing if their loved ones would return home safely.

Those planning services are encouraged to ask the Dean, Lord Mayor, Mayor, Lord Lieutenant, High Steward, Sheriff or other dignitary from their local community to read out the Tribute to the Millions.