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West Leeds: How to play your part in VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations

Residents across Leeds are being urged to play their part in the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day from home.

Next Friday (8 May) marks 75 years since Victory in Europe (VE) Day when the Second World War came to an end in Europe.

On this day in 1945, the Allied forces celebrated victory and a return to peace time in Europe. Across Europe and North America, millions of people took to the streets to celebrate with family, friends and neighbours.

This year, the government moved the May Day bank holiday to VE Day to allow the nation to remember the sacrifices so many made during the Second World War.

As previously reported, the Friends of Bramley War Memorial have cancelled a planned VE Day anniversary event on 8th May, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Other ceremonies in places like Rodley, Farsley, Calverley and Pudsey were also cancelled.

ve day 75

And Pudsey & Farsley Royal British Legion are encouraging residents to do one or more of three things:

  1. Younger residents can create VE Day Union Jack style posters to display in their windows.
  2. Dress/decorate their homes in the colours of red, white & blue. Flags and bunting are encouraged.
  3. At 3pm open your windows and stand in your doorways to sing along to Vera Lynn’s “We’ll meet again.”

More details here.

Residents across the city are being encouraged by the council to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day in a different way this year, from the comfort of their own homes.

pudsey cenotaph
Pudsey Cenotaph ahead of Remembrance Sunday in 2018. Photo: Simon Seary

The Government has created a digital toolkit which includes lots of ways you can still get involved in marking the anniversary.

It contains educational resources, a guide for planning an at-home tea party, recipes, bunting and fun activities. The full toolkit is available here. Other organisations have also created toolkits and resources for celebrating VE Day at home including The Royal British Legion and English Heritage.

In Leeds, the council have been linking up with care homes, schools and nurseries to encourage people to celebrate VE Day wherever they may be.

The council’s libraries team have also been digging deep into the Leodis photo archive to create a short film using photographic material of end of war celebrations in Leeds. This will be shared on VE Day on Leeds Libraries’ Facebook and Twitter pages.

To mark the occasion next Friday, Leeds Civic Hall, Town Hall and City Museum will all be lighting up red, white and blue to pay tribute to all those who served and made so many sacrifices during the Second World War, both at home and abroad.

Rodley War Memorial.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Eileen Taylor, said:

“It is of course a great shame that we are unable to attend events and community activities regarding the anniversary of VE Day as we continue as a city and a nation to take the steps that are necessary to tackle coronavirus.

WI know the people of our city will be very keen however to mark the occasion of VE Day, and we look forward to seeing and hearing how they do so from home in their own individual ways.”

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said:

“Whilst it is very disappointing that VE Day events across the city have had to be cancelled as a result of coronavirus, the toolkits and resources available are fantastic and offer a great way in which you and your family members can take part in the occasion from your own homes.”

Farsley’s fallen soldier tops the village cenotaph. Photo: Mark Stevenson

Useful links

More VE Day resources can be found on the English Heritage website. Resources include a downloadable ‘VE Day 75 celebrate at home pack’ which contains 1940s recipes, dance steps and even a playlist to help residents plan a stay-at-home party.

The Royal British Legion have also created a selection of learning resources, which can be found here.

A ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ will be taking place at 3pm on Friday (8 May) from the safety of our own homes. Stand up and raise a glass to all those who sacrificed so much during the Second World War. More information here.

The Royal British Legion are encouraging everyone to come together at 9pm on Friday (8 May) to sing Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. More information here.

The Queen will be addressing the nation at 9pm on Friday 8 May on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.

1 COMMENT

  1. I don’t like the idea of commemorating anything to do with war, especially as we have developed friendships with Germany et al and this encourages anti German behaviour

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