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Thursday 30 April 2015

Cheshire East residents urged to support VE Day events



Tea dances, street parties and other themed events are set to take place across Cheshire East when the country celebrates the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

And residents with memories of the historic day are being urged to share their stories.

The Victory in Europe anniversary falls on Friday, May 8, and will be commemorated and celebrated in Cheshire East in a number of ways.

Commemorative events, including wreath-laying, will take place at three locations around the Borough, in Crewe, Knutsford and Macclesfield.

Similar ceremonies will be held around the country, including a special service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in London, which will be followed by a huge concert the following day.

In Cheshire East, communities are being encouraged to play their part to mark the occasion, in whatever way they wish.

A jubilee-style street party is planned for Crewe where the Market Hall will be decorated with bunting.

Community choirs, bands and local radio will be playing some wartime favourites and residents who remember the historic occasion will be encouraged to share their memories.

Residents in care homes and sheltered living accommodation will be able to turn back the clock with special events planned and residents in the town can enjoy tea dances at St Barnabas Church Hall.

Bunting-making workshops are already in full swing.

Primary school children from St Mary’s ‘Peace Choir’ together with Crewe Community Gospel Choir, will entertain party-goers in the town centre.

The celebrations will kick off at noon and finish at 4pm. 

Cheshire East Council head of communities Steph Cordon said: “It’s open house.  Anyone can come along and it’s free.

“We hope people will join in the spirit of the occasion and dress up in wartime dress.

“But it is important to remember that this was a special occasion tinged with enormous sadness for thousands of families who lost loved ones at home and abroad.”

And in Macclesfield, volunteers have organised a family fun afternoon from 1pm at Banbury Park, Hurdsfield, while on Sunday, May 10, Cheshire Streetwise, a community interest company, are holding a VE Day-themed afternoon tea party between 1.30pm and 3.30pm at the Elim Centre.

Mike Suarez, Chief Executive of Cheshire East Council said: “It is important that this anniversary is marked in the appropriate way and we hope that as many people as possible will join in events taking place in their community.

“Our older generation who experienced the war, will have bittersweet memories, with so many people losing loved ones.

“But we hope they will be able to join in and share their recollections and help to make this a memorable occasion.”

“In 1945 VE Day injected an immediate feeling of euphoria across the country, owing to the huge sense of relief that the war was now over. People partied and celebrated and we have planned events to celebrate as well as commemorate.”

The brief civic ceremonies will be staggered with the first event being held outside Macclesfield Town Hall, followed by a second ceremony at Tatton Park and a third in Memorial Square, Crewe.

The first will take place at 10.45am, the second at noon and the event in Crewe at 1.15pm and will involve civic leaders and the Royal British Legion.

Addresses will be given which will include acknowledgement of the huge loss of life in the Second World War and its impact on the nation as a whole.

A member of the Cheshire Youth Theatre read the moving speech made by Winston Churchill at the VE Day celebrations in London.

While Churchill praised the courage and resolve of the British people, he also reminded the country that Britain was still at war with Japan and that fighting continued in the Far East in a conflict which continued until August.

The surrender of Admiral Donitz, following Hitler’s suicide, ended years of misery and fear for the UK, where half a million homes had been destroyed by bombing raids.

Ninety-two thousand civilians were killed, while the battlefields, air and sea hostilities claimed the lives of 357,116 service men and women.

Spontaneous dancing and singing in the streets across the country demonstrated the enormous relief felt by the people, relief tinged with sorrow at the loss of so many young lives.

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