70 years since VE day – what are your plans to celebrate?

An old black and white picture that show a group of children and women around a table with big smile, with bunting hanging in the background.
An old picture that show lots families around a table with big smile, with bunting hanging in the background.

Cleckheaton VE Day street party in 1945

Did you know that the 70th anniversary of VE Day, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, is this May? Do you have any plans for the three-day national commemoration, which will see beacons lit across the country, church bells rung and street parties held, 8th – 10th May?

Victory in Europe (VE) Day was the public holiday celebrated on 8th May 1945 to mark the formal acceptance by the Allies of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe.

People across Kirklees joined with the rest of the UK to share a moment of relief and euphoria that war in Europe was finally over. Local people had faced many hardships at home and abroad during the war; men and women were serving in the forces, loved ones were lost and there were threats from German bombs. Those at home worked tirelessly, including in essential local industries, which were fully engaged in war production.

To mark the 70th anniversary, three days of national festivities are being planned across the UK. At 3pm on 8th May, the moment in 1945 Winston Churchill declared an end to war in Europe, there will be a two-minute silence across the country. At dusk, Kirklees Council will be lighting a beacon on Castle Hill, part of a chain of beacons stretching from Newcastle to Cornwall lit to celebrate the anniversary.

On Saturday 9th May, communities are being encouraged to organise street parties. At 11am churches and cathedrals are being asked to ring their bells, as they did in 1945.

On the Sunday 10th May a service of thanksgiving will be held at Westminster Abbey, followed by a parade of Armed Forces personnel and veterans from the war, who will march past the balcony of the Treasury in Whitehall where Churchill made his famous appearance in front of the crowds on VE Day.

Anyone planning to commemorate this important anniversary by holding a street party, a concert, a parade, a special memorial service or exhibition can send details of their activities to lestweforget.kirklees@kirklees.gov.uk. Ideas and news of the commemorations across the country can be found at www.gov.uk/veday70

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