Stoke-on-Trent City Council is calling for residents to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day in their own homes this Bank Holiday weekend.
Friday (8 May) marks the 75th anniversary of the day towards the end of World War Two when fighting against Nazi Germany in Europe came to an end. VE Day is traditionally celebrated with mass gatherings and street parties. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, planned events and celebrations across the country have been cancelled.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council services have come up with activities to help households commemorate VE Day in their own homes. Residents are being asked to share tributes, stories and photographs on social media of what they’re doing to commemorate VE Day at home, using the hashtag #StokeonTrentVEDay.
The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery has a range of fantastic online activities for the whole family to help people get in the celebratory spirit at home. The website features puzzles, wartime recipes and instructions for making your own crafts and decorations including homemade bunting and paper spitfires. Visitors to the museum’s social media pages - @thepotteriesmuseum – will also be able to discover the fascinating stories behind a range of World War Two objects at the museum, including archive photographs. More ideas and activities can be found on the museum’s website: http://www.stokemuseums.org.uk/pmag/ve-day/.
Stoke-on-Trent Libraries will be marking VE Day by sharing a range of fantastic online resources that residents can use during their home celebrations. This will include:
• Digital food magazines (Olive, BBC Good Food, BBC Easycook) that can provide ideas for tasty vintage inspired treats.
• Digital history magazines, for example BBC History Magazine, for readers who want to know more about VE Day.
• The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, which library card holders can use to find out about the people and personalities involved in VE Day and World War Two.
The libraries will also be promoting a number of family activities including ‘colour your own bunting’ and history resources for school children who are learning at home. More information is on the libraries’ social media pages @stokeontrentlibraries on Facebook or @SoTLibraries on Twitter.
Stoke-on-Trent City Music Service has uploaded videos of staff playing and singing war songs such as ‘There’ll Always Be An England,’ which you can join in with. More can be found on the Stoke-on-Trent City Music Service Youtube channel.
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of the Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “The message is still clear and remains in place– stay at home and save lives. It is unfortunate that we are not able to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day as we originally intended to, but there are still plenty of ways we can thank everybody who has and who is serving our nation from our own homes.
“Our city’s museums and libraries have some brilliant ideas for activities and home decorations – from making your own spitfire to baking a classic vintage recipe. You can share photos of what you get up to on social media using the hashtag #StokeonTrentVEDay. We all must adhere to Government guidelines on social distancing and only make essential journeys, but we can still come together virtually as a city, and as a nation, by staying at home. This is the best thing we can do during these challenging times to remember the huge sacrifices made during the Second World War.”
There are also a number of opportunities for people across the country to take part in over the weekend including:
- A national two-minute silence at 11am on Friday, May 8.
- A national singalong to Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ led by the Queen’s address on BBC One at 9pm on Friday, May 8.
- Leaving a VE Day message or tribute on the Royal British Legion website - https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/march-poppy-press/leave-your-ve-day-message
A learning pack for children which features first-hand accounts from the Second World War generation can also be downloaded from the Royal British Legion’s website - https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/teaching-remembrance
Councillor Jackie Barnes, the Lord Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent said: “Last June, I was privileged to attend a service at Stoke Minster commending the heroic actions of those who took part in the D-day landings. It was attended by three surviving veterans of the Normandy landings and it highlighted the importance of paying tribute to the brave service men and women who gave up so much for us.
“It is appropriate we will be singing along as a nation to Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ at 9pm on Friday night. These are some of the most challenging times our country has faced since the Second World War. I want to say how proud I am of our city for pulling together during this pandemic and to thank key workers and volunteers for helping our most vulnerable people – we are getting through this together. Please ensure you celebrate from your own homes this weekend and to adhere to social distancing and essential journey guidelines.”
Councillor Lilian Dodd, the city council’s Armed Forces champion said: ““We must never forget the selflessness of all those who sacrificed so much during the Second World War – from those who fought on the frontline to those who kept the country running – so that we could enjoy the freedom of life as we know it. Although we are facing huge challenges of our own at this time, Friday will be a time for us to reflect on history and to give our thanks to the heroes of the war. I hope that everyone in our great city will find a way of showing their appreciation and observe the national two-minute silence at 11am while ensuring they stay safe in their own homes.”
Staffordshire Police have emphasised the importance of staying at home this weekend and continuing to adhere to social distancing and essential journeys guidance at all times.
Chief Constable Gareth Morgan said: “The 75th anniversary of VE Day will be an opportunity for us all to remember the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of the Second World War generation.
“We know it’s difficult, but please continue to stay at home this VE Day to remember their sacrifice and play an important part in helping to save lives and to protect the elderly and vulnerable, who fought in the war all those years ago to protect us.
“The Royal British Legion has urged people to celebrate from their homes and will be holding a number of activities that we can all participate in throughout the day as we all remember the enormous sacrifices that were made at home and abroad.
“While this an important anniversary for the country, it is important to unite in our continued fight against Covid-19 and continue to stay home and only leave for essential reasons, maintaining social distancing if you do.
“I would urge people to ask themselves if the journey they are making or what they are doing is reasonable in the current situation. We all have a shared responsibility to protect the NHS, please apply your common sense and stay home.”
For more information on VE Day programmes and activities, please visit the Royal British Legion website: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/remembrance-events/ve-day-75?seg=WPDW3B
For more information on Stoke-on-Trent Library services, please visit https://www.stoke.gov.uk/libraries
For more guidance on celebrating VE Day safely from your own home, please visit the Staffordshire Police website: https://www.staffordshire.police.uk/police-forces/staffordshire-police/areas/staffordshire-police/campaigns/2020/march/coronavirus-guidance/
For more information and advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) please visit Public Health England:
https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The significance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.
For all media enquiries please contact the Communications Department at Stoke-on-Trent City Council on 01782 232671.
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