VE Day 75 in Kirklees

To mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day, we are arranging a special programme of activity.

What is VE Day? 

VE Day marks the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Allied Forces and the end of hostilities in Europe in the Second World War.  It is an opportunity to remember all those who died fighting for the freedoms we now experience and to thank all those who played their part supporting the nation to survive the war.  This is even more poignant this year given the extraordinary situation in which we all find ourselves when supporting each other once again is so important.

How will we be celebrating VE day? 

We are encouraging residents to celebrate VE Day safely by publishing activities and ideas on our VE Day 75 web page, as well as holding a special digitally streamed ceremony, which will include lighting up Victoria Tower at Castle Hill, Batley, Dewsbury and Cleckheaton Town Halls in Red, White and Blue for all to enjoy.

How can you organise safe celebrations? 

In the run-up to VE Day, we will be publishing resources on our VE Day 75 web page to help residents organise safe celebrations and learn more about World War II in Kirklees.

On VE Day itself, Friday 8 May, which is a National Bank Holiday, residents all over the borough will be encouraged to celebrate safely.

As we are still following social distancing rules, traditional street parties, which marked the end of the war, are not possible but we are suggesting that doorstep parties could be held instead.

Residents will be encouraged to decorate their house or flat with homemade bunting and pictures in their windows, create their own flags to wave and to join in with a national toast to those who served in the war.

The ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ will take place at 3pm on Friday 8 May. Everyone will be encouraged to stand up, raise a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertake the following ‘Toast’ – “To those who gave so much, we thank you”.

To keep the celebrations going, residents can have picnics or afternoon tea on their doorsteps and chat to neighbours whilst maintaining a safe distance.

These socially distanced celebrations will give people the opportunity to celebrate with the people in their household and their neighbours whilst keeping safe.

Then at 9pm on Friday 8 May, BBC One will be featuring a singalong of the 1943 wartime classic ‘We’ll Meet Again’ by Dame Vera Lynn as part of their VE Day broadcast. In Kirklees, we will be able to enjoy an on-line performance of the song by local singer, Julia Wood, live from Castle Hill.

A special video message from the Leader of the Council, the cabinet, frontline workers and war veterans will go live shortly before the 9pm singalong and then from 9pm to 11pm, Victoria Tower at Castle Hill will be lit up in red, white and blue, with wartime-like searchlights.  The Town Halls in Dewsbury, Batley and Cleckheaton will also be lit up as a mark of respect.

How can you watch the event from Castle Hill?

We will live stream the event from Castle Hill on Facebook and it will also be available to view from our VE Day 75 web page.  Films of the three town halls will also be made available on our social media on the night so no-one needs to leave their homes to see the show.

‘We’ll Meet Again’

Everyone is encouraged to join in singing ‘We’ll Meet Again’ from their doorsteps, and the lyrics below will also be available on the website so everyone can learn them.

We’ll meet again

Don’t know where

Don’t know when

But I know we’ll meet again

Some sunny day

 

Keep smiling through

Just like you always do

‘Till the blue skies chase

Those dark clouds far away

 

And I will just say hello

To the folks that you know

Tell them you won’t be long

They’ll be happy to know

That, as I saw you go

You were singing this song

 

We’ll meet again

Don’t know where

Don’t know when

But I know we’ll meet again

Some sunny day

 

And I will just say hello

To the folks that you know

Tell them you won’t be long

They’ll be happy to know

That, as I saw you go

You were singing this song

 

We’ll meet again

Don’t know where

Don’t know when

But I know we’ll meet again

Some sunny day

Share your pictures and videos

We are also asking people to share pictures and videos of how they are celebrating, whether that’s trying out one of the activities on our website or pictures of how they’ve decorated the house or even family pictures from the War.  These can be shared with us through a special Flickr group set up for the occasion; we will be sharing these on our social media accounts as well.

You can upload images to Flickr.

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said:

“VE Day is one of the most significant dates in our history; it marked the end of nearly six years of sacrifice both on the battlefield and at home.  The sacrifices of the men and women who lived through that time should never be forgotten.

Whilst the current pandemic might mean we are all having to celebrate this occasion differently,  it shouldn’t stop us from showing our respects and taking a moment to remember the sacrifices made by men and women in both the first and second world wars and subsequent conflicts.

We can all show our respects for the nation’s heroes past and present by celebrating from home, with the people in our household and from a safe distance with our neighbours, or by using technology to celebrate with those further away.

Now more than ever we may be able to understand a little of what it was like for people during the war, the sense of uncertainty, the strict measures placed on daily life and the fear of something we do not fully understand. As such, there is no better time to learn more about the war and how our ancestors lived through that difficult time.”

One comment

  • barbararushforth@btinternet.com

    When WW2 ended we held street parties. After all those years of rationing and dark nights and yes a couple of air raids even in Hudds, it was wonderful to get a few extra rations and to be able to put lights on and leave doors open. I was 9 and I remember it well. I hadn’t seen my dad for 7years but thank God he came home safe. I suggest we leave the VE celebrations until after we have beaten the virus and life has returned to normal and then we have street parties again. That’s just my suggestion.

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