Borough to celebrate VE Day in a different way

Published Tuesday, 5th May 2020

VE Day 75 Years 8 to 10 May, Soldiers silhouetted one side, street parties on the other. Union jack bunting across the top.

With national restrictions still in place around social distancing, the council has set out plans for how the Borough and community can commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE-Day, while at home.

Residents will be preparing to remember VE-Day this week (Friday 8 – Sunday 10 May) in a variety of ways, with planned events across the Borough adapted in light of the current national situation.

The Worshipful The Mayor, Cllr John Lamb, will be laying a commemorative wreath at Southend Cenotaph. This will be filmed and shared online and on social media on Friday, alongside a message from him.

The council is also delighted to be supporting Heritage Lottery funded ‘HMS Leigh – Make Do And Mend online’, which is designed to engage school children and the wider community with the world class heritage that is Southend Pier.

‘HMS Leigh – Make Do And Mend’ will tell the forgotten history of Southend Pier during World War Two, in place of the planned event that was due to take place on Southend Pier from 5 - 10 May 2020 but has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The project will now provide an online festival of stories, films, exhibitions, learning materials, and activities from 6 to 10 May 2020. To find out more please visit the HMS Leigh website.

A number of stay at home street parties are also expected to take place across the Borough, and the council is urging local people to enjoy these, but safely and with social distancing firmly in mind. More guidance is available on our website.

More information on virtual events and guidance is available on our website.

The Worshipful The Mayor, Cllr John Lamb, said: “This year, we were all looking forward to commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Unfortunately, given the unprecedented times we find ourselves we are unable to celebrate as we would’ve liked. However, this will not stop us from remembering the heroes that gave their lives for us in World War 2, and I am delighted that we have a fantastic virtual event planned for the Borough.”

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “We are thrilled to support the HMS Leigh virtual event and hope local families can get involved and perhaps learn something new about our town’s iconic history and heritage as part of these virtual VE Day celebrations. We are also aware that a number of stay at home street parties will also take place and urge people to be responsible and stick to the rules which are there to keep us all safe and well.”

Alastair Deacon, director of Blade Education, said: “HMS Leigh Make Do and Mend is a fantastic opportunity to bring to life the amazing history of Southend during World War 2 and remind the whole community of the pivotal role the Pier played in the entire war effort as HMS Leigh.

“In the six weeks since the lockdown began we have worked hard to bring together organisations from across the town to turn a live event on the Pier into an online event over multiple platforms, that we hope will help people understand that the heritage is about everyone, and everyone’s story is important.”