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Celebrate a socially distanced VE Day


With the government’s restrictions around social distancing, Ashford Borough Council has moved its VE Day 75th anniversary celebrations online. 

Residents who might have been planning to celebrate with their neighbours are being encouraged to have a ‘Stay at Home Street Party’, either with their own households, or by using video call with wider family or friends.

To help residents enjoy the Bank Holiday and weekend, the council website is being updated with a set of family-friendly activities that can be tried with the children, or by yourself, to keep busy while in lockdown. This includes a VE Day activity pack from Made In Ashford, commissioned by Craftship Enterprise CIC and designed by Tinybeegle, some World War Two recipes, and some activities for the kids.

One of the plans for VE Day was to hold a photographic exhibition in Memorial Gardens. This has now been transformed into an online exhibition, available to download through the council website. There are several photos, courtesy of Ashford Borough Museum, of street parties taken in unknown locations on 8 May 1945. If you recognise the street or know anyone in them, please let us know at heritage@ashford.gov.uk.

Mayor of Ashford, Cllr Jenny Webb, has prepared a special VE Day message and will also be reading The Tribute to the Millions on behalf of residents across the borough. This will be available to watch on the council website on VE Day and over the weekend.

Several national events are also happening virtually or at a safe distance over the weekend. This includes a VE Day 75 Live stream on the Royal British Legion Facebook page from 11.15am on Friday 8 May, which will be a 45-minute chat between representatives of  the World War Two generation and today’s young people – https://www.facebook.com/OfficialPoppyLegion/.

At 2.55pm buglers, trumpeters and cornet players could join in the playing of The Last Post from their garden, outside the front door or from their balcony or window. Please do not play in an area where people could gather.

At 3pm pipers are encouraged to play Battle’s Over and VE Day. You can find the link to download the music on the council’s website.

Also at 3pm everyone is being encouraged to join in the Nation’s Toast to the heroes of the Second World War. This is your chance to pay tribute to the many millions in the United Kingdom and overseas who sacrificed so much for the freedom we have today. Stand at 3pm and raise a glass or cup of a refreshment of your choice and undertake the following toast: “For those that gave so much, we thank you.”  This will be the first time such a tribute has ever taken place.

At 6.55pm anyone who wants to take part in the Cry for Peace can do so. You can find the link to the words on the council website. Again, please ensure to maintain safe social distancing. 

Following this, at 7pm everyone is encouraged to join in Ringing out for Peace, by ringing bells in the safety of their own homes. This can be any bell, even your own doorbell.

If you’re celebrating, please share your photos with us on social media and use #AshfordVEDay75.

The Royal British Legion has an open message board where you can remember, celebrate and honour the brave men and women of the Second World War and our Armed Forces. Visit https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/ways-to-give/march-poppy-press/leave-your-ve-day-message?seg=WPDW3B to leave your message.

Cllr Matthew Forest, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, said: “While it is a shame we cannot gather together to celebrate VE Day, I hope many of you will be able to mark this important anniversary in the safety of your own homes. There are lots of ways to get involved, and using technology you can feel part of a community while you celebrate.” 

 

VE Day 75th anniversary logo, being celebrated from 8-10 May 2020

For more information on the council’s plans for VE Day, visit www.ashford.gov.uk/ve-day

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