Published: Wednesday, 6th May 2020
8th May 1945 started as any other day. People were waiting for an announcement that the war was over, but the promised ringing of the bells did not happen and folks went about their everyday lives.
Today, 75 years later, we too are awaiting announcements about the easing of social distancing measures.
While we must stay at home while we commemorate the anniversary of this momentous occasion, back then street parties were rapidly organised as word got out that the war in Europe was over and that a two-day holiday had been announced.
The Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, in conjunction with Stories of Lynn and King’s Lynn & District RAFA have put together a programme of activities to help people celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and to take time to think about the sacrifices so many made on behalf of the rest of us.
Last week, ration books were distributed in copies of The Lynn News and Your Local Paper, along with pages with flags and bunting to colour in or trace and put up in your homes ready for the VE Day party.
All these resources and more are available on the StoriesOfLynn.co.uk/VEDay75 website. Here is a plane spotting quiz, using an ARP Warden’s chart, 1940s style dance classes, a talk about Norfolk Airfields, a photo gallery, and memories from the day.
Messages from the Mayor and other videos are also online.
Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, Deputy Leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and cabinet member for Culture, Heritage and Health, said: “It is disappointing that not only us, but the whole country has had to put our event plans on hold for VE Day. But we felt we couldn’t let the day go past without having some sort of celebration in commemoration of this momentous occasion.
“So many people have come forward to help put our virtual plans together and we are very grateful to them all. We have a talk from True’s Yard and a photo gallery. We have memories from Dot Taylor a Stories of Lynn Volunteer. We have archive footage of a performance from Dame Myra Hess, who played lunchtime concerts during the war, from King’s Lynn Festival. Major Swing and Noise and Chance School of Dance have supplied online dance classes. The King’s Lynn & District RAFA assisted with the development of the ration books and the plane spotting quiz. There are resources from Stories of Lynn including making paper hats and table decorations in a make do and mend style, and of course some 1940s recipes."
“There is plenty for everyone to do whether you are alone or with family.”
All the activities are lined up with the national programme and people are encouraged to take part in the two-minute silence at 11am, the toast to the nation at 3pm and the address from HM The Queen at 9pm.
The festivities in west Norfolk will finish with a disco hosted by Chair of Festival Too, Mark Stanford. Tune in to Mark's mixcloud from 7.30pm for a mix of the best 70’s, 80’s and 90’s music, leading into the address from HM The Queen, and the following nationwide singing of "We’ll meet again" – the classic World War Two song from Dame Vera Lynn.
The Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, Cllr Geoff Hipperson, will be ‘virtually’ visiting as many parties as he can, including a link up with the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at 3pm, for the toast to the nation and a moment to reflect on our heroes both then and now.
Cllr Hipperson said: “I am looking forward to being a small part of people’s celebrations. It’s going to be interesting to see how people are marking the occasion. I am aware of several front garden parties which will give the impression of a street party but by following the social distancing guidelines. I am also looking forward to seeing all the photos that people send in. I will be picking the best decorated home from those sent in on our social media channels and then once the restrictions are lifted, I will be inviting the winning family for afternoon tea in the parlour and a VIP tour of Stories of Lynn.”
People are encouraged to share photos of the day on social media using the hashtag #VEDay75WN. The best will be shared on the council’s social media channels and the winner will be chosen by the Mayor.
For more information visit www.storiesoflynn.co.uk/VEDay75 or follow the council’s social media channels @BCKLWNNewsandEvents on Facebook and @WestNorfolkBC on Twitter.
To find out more about the national programme of activities and where to tune into the toast, and HM The Queen’s address visit: https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/get-involved/
The government is keen to ensure that people are able to say thank you to all those who served and made so many sacrifices, both at home and abroad, but to do so while staying safe in their own homes and observing the social distancing guidelines.