Marlborough Town Council is encouraging people to join in with the ‘stay at home’ commemorations on May 8 VE Day 75. The Bank Holiday was planned to have been full of parades, street parties, celebrations and commemorations but now will largely be confined to peoples’ homes and gardens.
Mayor Mervyn Hall commented, “In May 1945 there was a huge outpouring of relief that the European part of the Second World War was finally over and people partied like never before. The conflict had left between 15 and 20 million Europeans dead, including 454,000 Britons.
Looking back, 75 years later, it is difficult for us to comprehend the stress and hardship of living through those times.
This year, due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the commemorations will consist largely of what is on television, starting with a 2 minute silence at 11am. We can never recreate what it was like back then but listening to accounts by those who lived through it, including our own Queen, we can start to understand how people must have felt. Perhaps when the Covid-19 outbreak is over we will experience our own outpouring of relief. Let’s hope so!”
Not to be deterred by lockdown, several streets in Marlborough such as Barrow Close and Rogers Meadow are already planning front garden street parties – all in line with social distancing rules of course.
Marlborough Town Council is creating an “At Home” album and invites residents to contribute to it. It is hoped this will provide a way to share memories while we are apart and also to provide a lasting record that we can look back on in years to come.
If you have mementos or family photographs from VE Day, if you have ‘at home’ activities planned for May 8, if your children would like to create a drawing, art project or poem then the Town Council would like to hear from you.
Photos or other material can be emailed (before, on or after the day) and they will be added to the album. Alternatively, you can post them to the Town Council’s Facebook page and they will be uploaded from there. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org . The album will be live early this week.
Marlborough.news has already spoken to several people who were at school in Marlborough on VE Day. If you missed the article you can find it here.
There are many other ways to celebrate and mark VE Day 75 at home. BBC Radio Wiltshire has launched a Great British Bunting project. Everyone is encouraged to make their own bunting to decorate their homes. Instructions about how to make it can be found here.
Wiltshire Council has created a special VE day at home pack. The pack contains: themed recipe ideas, a WW2 quiz, 1940’s inspired games, e-reading materials from Wiltshire’s library services and more.
Wiltshire Council leader, Cllr Philip Whitehead said, “The pack contains something for the whole family and we hope it provides a little distraction from what we’re all going through at the moment, which has seen communities up and down the country evoke that wartime spirit and determination.”
Many of us will be following the nationwide commemorations and celebrations on TV which culminate in a pre-recorded message by the Queen on BBC 1 at 9pm, the same time as her father King George VI made his radio address marking victory in Europe in 1945 after what he called ‘nearly six years of suffering and peril’.
Prince Charles will read his grandfather’s diary entry which describes the day’s events, including the Buckingham Palace balcony appearance. It was later that day that the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret danced unnoticed amongst the crowds celebrating on the London streets.
After the Queen’s address there is to be a UK wide singalong to Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and people are encouraged to open their front doors to join in.
Marlborough Town Council has published the timetable for Friday May 8 as follows:
11:00 – Two minute silence
11:15 – Royal British Legion (RBL) livestream
18:55 – A Cry for Peace (nationwide, including our own Town Crier)
20:00 – BBC One and RBL evening of memories and music “The People’s Celebration“
21:00 – Address by HM Queen Elizabeth II
UK Wide sing-along to Dame Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”
More information can be found at Royal British Legion page https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/remembrance-events/ve-day-75