To mark the 75 year anniversary of VE Day on Friday 8 May, Cheshire East Council is calling on individuals and communities across the borough to come together during key moments safely or virtually, to pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of the entire Second World War generation.
This includes all those from British, Commonwealth and allied forces, through to evacuees and those who served on the home front. With the Covid-19 pandemic still gripping the nation, we are all faced with one of the most challenging times since the end of the Second World War.
Sadly, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many plans for community celebrations have had to be cancelled. Cheshire East residents are being encouraged to celebrate the occasion whilst following social distancing guidelines by putting up decorations such as bunting and having a ‘stay at home’ street party or observing the two-minute silence on their doorstep or at their windows.
Councillor Mick Warren, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for communities said, “In these current difficult times when we talk of heroes in our NHS, it is important to remember those other heroes from our nation especially our armed forces, who were involved in the European theatre during WW2. This is why we are celebrating as a nation the 75th anniversary of VE day this year on Friday 8 May commemorating the formal ending of the second world war.
“Cheshire East Council is committed to the Armed Forces community through the Armed Forces Covenant. The covenant sets out a commitment to acknowledge and understand, that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives."
Councillor Ashley Farrall, Cheshire East Council armed forces member champion, said: "VE Day marks a particular point in time in which the country worked together with our allies to defeat a powerful threat, which we should never forget.
“It's particularly poignant on this the 75th anniversary that we are facing a significant threat in the form of Covid-19. We should draw on the strength from that shown by the World War Two generation and the inspirational veterans such as the newly promoted Colonel Tom Moore in his efforts to raise money for the NHS and their heroes. By working together and looking after each other we can also achieve victory now."
The Victory in Europe anniversary falls on Friday 8 May and will be commemorated and celebrated in Cheshire East in several ways.
A short video by the Mayor of Cheshire East, Councillor Barry Burkhill will be broadcast on social media channels at 10.30am, followed by Councillor Ashley Farrall at 11.30am and Councillor Mick Warren at 3.30pm.
Knutsford Town Council has organised a virtual service, which you can follow on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/knutsfordtowncouncil This short service will commence at around 2.45pm and will pay tribute to fallen heroes and mark the anniversary of the day of victory in Europe.
Poynton Town Council has produced a virtual VE Day exhibition, which can be seen at: www.poyntontowncouncil.gov.uk/ve-75th-anniversary-soldiers.htm.
The Municipal Buildings in Crewe will also be illuminated in red, white and blue at 8.30pm.
Nationally a two minutes silence will be observed at 11am on Friday 8 May which will be followed shortly after by a livestream on the Royal British Legion's website. BBC One will have a programme of remembrance starting at 8pm and ending with The Queen addressing the nation at 9pm. This coincides with the exact time her father, King George VI, made his radio address to the nation in 1945 to announce victory in Europe from Buckingham Palace.
The government has also announced a revised programme, to help people to remember and give thanks to the Second World War generation from the safety of their own homes. They have produced a number of useful resources to allow people to take part in the celebrations on the website at: https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/get-involved/
The council is also asking residents to share pictures of the commemorations on social media and tag Cheshire East Council and use the hashtag #VEDay75 (links to social media).
Other events taking place include, Churchill speech shown on BBC One at 3pm and a We’ll Meet Again for VE Day 75 with Dame Vera Lynn and Katharine Jenkins OBE, a half-hour concert streamed on YouTube by the Royal Albert Hall at 6pm. The BBC will also have a programme of remembrance starting at 8pm and ending with a national sing-along of Dame Vera Lynn's "We'll meet again" at 9pm.
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 1945.
It is estimated 55 million people lost their lives in what remains the deadliest military conflict in history.