VE weekend remembers Vintage and Valour

Published Thursday, 7th May 2015

Southend is marking two special wartime anniversaries on Friday 8th May and Sunday 10th May.

On Friday 8th May the borough will join national commemorations of the moment 70 years ago when the end of the Second World War was officially declared.

At 9:32pm precisely on the cliffs outside the Naval and Military Club in Royal Terrace, Southend, the Worshipful the Mayor of Southend, Councillor Chris Walker will light a beacon in honour of this event – just as other towns and cities will be doing across the country.

A lone bugler will play, as the flames of the beacon light up the night sky.

Meanwhile, in Priory Park, Southend on Sunday 10th May, an intriguing free Vintage and Valour afternoon will commemorate 100 years since the first Zeppelin raid on Southend.

There will be World War themed entertainment and activities throughout the afternoon from 2pm until 5pm.

Popular jazz/swing combo, the Daisy Bowlers will be delivering well-loved songs of yesteryear on the Bandstand in Priory Park, Victoria Avenue, Southend, from 3pm until 5pm.

Living History enthusiast, Ian Houghton will be there clad in First World War army uniform, mingling with residents and visitors to introduce people to the life and times of a Great War soldier.

Also on hand will be the Council’s Roll of Honour Outreach Officer, Chris Langdon, who is researching the histories of those from Southend who fell in the First World War.

From 2pm in the refectory at Prittlewell Priory Museum, he will be giving talks about the Zeppelin raids in Southend and describing the history of Southend during the Great War.

Chris is keen to hear from anyone who believes they may have family members listed on the Roll of Honour, and who may be able to add any information about them or photos.

He can be contacted via: christopherlangdon@southend.gov.uk

Meanwhile, local author Dee Gordon will be introducing her new book called Essex Land Girls, about the young women who undertook vital farm work in place of men called up to fight in the Second World War.

Visitors can also chat to library staff, who will be on hand to share some of the unique and fascinating resources taken from the Local Studies collection, based at The Forum Southend-on-Sea.

To make the Vintage and Valour afternoon even more memorable, those who attend are invited to bring picnics or host their own fund-raising Poppy Picnic in aid of the Royal British Legion.

For more details about how to do this, please visit: www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/poppy-picnic

Members of the Council’s parks team will also be holding a plant sale during the afternoon.

The Council’s Corporate Director for Place, Andrew Lewis said: “We hope as many people as possible will be able to attend these forthcoming special events.

“It will be a very moving moment to join with the rest of the country for the lighting of the VE day anniversary beacon at 9:32pm on Friday 8th May.

“Then the Vintage and Valour afternoon on Sunday 10th May, is set to be thoroughly entertaining and informative for all ages.

“In a direct and lively way, it will help bring the fascinating history of our borough to life – especially by retelling dramatic episodes of both world wars and recreating the atmosphere through music too.”