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How you can mark 75th anniversary of VE Day with online events

Residents will be able to celebrate at home with online VE Day events
Residents will be able to celebrate at home with online VE Day events

PEOPLE across the New Forest and Christchurch are being invited to join in with celebrations next Friday from their homes to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day as the coronavirus lockdown continues.

With mass gatherings banned, virtual events will be held over the bank holiday weekend commemorating the Allies’ victory in Europe during the Second World War on 8th May 1945.

Several commemorations, including a major one in New Milton, are set to take place at a later date. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to decorate their homes in red, white and blue for their own single-household parties.

Among the virtual events taking place is the Pennington VE Day Stay at Home Street Party organised by St Mark’s Church. This can be viewed on the Pennington Church YouTube channel at bit.ly/2Sf8uoY from 1.30pm on bank holiday Friday 8th May.

The invitation on the church’s Facebook page said: “At 2:20pm, Friday 8th May 2020, stand on your pavement, make a noise to celebrate the signing of the declaration of surrender.”

A large-scale party on Barton clifftop was among a series of community events planned under the banner New Milton Remembers for the town’s part in marking VE75.

It was rescheduled to Saturday 15th August to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Victory Over Japan Day (VJ Day) but may now be pushed into next year.

At Monday’s meeting of the town council’s finance and general purposes committee, which was held via video conferencing, town clerk Graham Flexman read an email

from New Milton Residents' Association chairman Alan Watson, which announced the “plan C” was Saturday 5th June 2021.

This would coincide with the 75th anniversary of the London Victory Celebrations which were held on 8th June 1946 after the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan in the Second World War.

Welcoming the contingency plan, F&GP chairman Cllr Steve Davies said: “I’m sure by June next year we should be clear, but fingers crossed.”

Hampshire County Council is inviting residents to watch a special VE75 film online at www.hants.gov.uk on bank holiday Friday.

Cllr Andrew Joy, cabinet member for communities, partnerships and external affairs, said: “While we do not have the opportunity to gather together in the way we normally would, we nevertheless want to ensure we mark this important date – recognising the immense effort and courage of members of the armed forces during the Second World War in achieving victory in Europe, as well as in other conflicts across the world.”

Further details of the event will be published on the HCC website at the beginning of May, the council said.

In Brockenhurst, villager Bronya Szatkowska was so determined to have a VE Day 75th celebration that she worked with the parish council and St Saviour’s Church to arrange a virtual event next Friday.

Readings will be given by parish councillors, and residents can share memories and photographs on the @BrockVEDay75 Facebook page. Information will also be linked to the Brockenhurst Parish Council website at www.brockenhurst.gov.uk/VEDay75_31147.aspx

At 2.55pm the historic Brockenhurst fire bell will sound and at 3pm people are encouraged to join the nation’s toast to the heroes of the Second World War, followed by the all-clear at 3.10pm from an original War Ministry air raid siren in the centre of the village.

“We should still honour and remember those who gave so much,” Bronya said. “I am lucky that both my grandfathers survived the war – one was a rear gunner in a Lancaster Bomber and the other an engineer in the Polish Air Force working on Spitfires – but others weren’t so lucky.”

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