UPDATE due to Coronavirus, from the VE Day 75 website: “I am afraid that the terrible Coronavirus emergency and consequent Government guidance means that we must advise participants to cancel or postpone the majority of the VE Day 75 community celebrations due to take place on the bank holiday weekend of 8th – 10th May. It is right and proper that people should be kept safe and healthy.”
Dear Sir or Madam
CHURCHES AND CATHEDRALS – VE DAY 75
The 8th May 1945 was the day peace emerged after nearly six years of war, so the 75th anniversary on 8th May 2020 represents an important milestone in our history. I am sure you will agree that we cannot let this day pass without reflecting on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of people from all walks of life who saw us through this dark period. Our celebration, VE Day 75, will cover the weekend of 8th – 10th May 2020, and will be an international celebration of peace – a time to remember, reflect and pay tribute to the millions who played such a vital part in achieving it.
This includes the Armed Forces personnel from many countries who gave their lives, and those who returned home injured in body and mind; the hard-working women and men who kept the factories, mines, shipyards and farms operating throughout the years of turmoil; the ARP wardens, police officers, doctors, nurses, firemen, local defence volunteers and many others who put their lives on hold to safeguard the home front.
The official, exclusive Charity for VE Day 75 is SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, which also supports the Merchant Navy.
The planned activities over the weekend are as follows:
- The Playing of Battle’s O’er & VE 75 Years
- The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2
- The Cry for Peace, around the World
- Churches & cathedrals Ringing out for Peace
- Street parties and parties in pubs, clubs, Hotels, on town and village greens and in halls etc
- Services of commemoration and celebration in churches, including the reading of the Tribute to the Millions and the playing of the Last Post
Registration for all participants will be solely through the VE Day 75 website www.veday75.org. As well as adding your details you will also be able to download important documents, including a commemorative certificate, and view messages of support from individuals and organisations.
FRIDAY 8TH MAY 2020
3pm – Battle’s O’er & VE 75 Years
3pm is the time Winston Churchill officially announced the end of WW2 from the Cabinet Office at 10 Downing Street, London.
Pipers from around the world will open VE Day 75 by playing Battle’s O’er and VE 75 Years at 3pm local time in the country they are in, paying tribute to the millions who gave so much to earn our freedom today. Battle’s O’er is the traditional tune played by pipers at the end of a battle, and VE 75 Years has been specially written for this occasion by Pipe Major Roger Bayes of the city of Norwich Pipe Band.
Battle’s O’er will be played by pipers from the top of the four highest Peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis, Scotland; Scafell Pike, England; Mount Snowdon, Wales, and Slieve Donnard, Northern Ireland – and also at the five furthest points in the UK. This has never been undertaken before.
We are encouraging pipers working that day to pause at 3pm to play the tune in their workplace. It will provide pipers throughout the world the opportunity to participate without having to take time off work. We are already aware that a nurse will be playing the pipes on her hospital ward, and that others will be playing at a railway company, in a field and outside a bakery.
3pm – The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2
To coincide with the playing of Battle’s O’er thousands of pubs throughout the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will encourage customers to raise a glass at 3pm and take part in The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2.
6.55pm – A Cry for Peace Around the World
Town criers around the world will be undertaking A Cry for Peace Around the World, kindly written for this occasion by Crier Peter Taunton. The cry, which can be downloaded from the website, will be performed at 7pm local time in locations around the world, starting in New Zealand.
7pm – Ringing out for Peace
In association with the Central Council of Bellringers, bells in churches and cathedrals will be encouraged to ring out at 7pm on 8th May 2020, in a collective celebration of VE Day 75. The sound of church bells is deeply rooted in British culture. They provide the grand soundtrack to our historic moments, calling us to wake, to pray, to work, to arms, to feast, to celebrate and, in times of crisis, to come together. This aspect of VE Day 75 could not be more appropriate, ringing out around the world to celebrate the peace we share today. We do hope that you will take part and register your involvement on the VE Day 75 website – www.veday75.org to enable us to keep intouch with you as well as being able to inform the media of your involvement nearer the time.
7pm onwards – Parties and Celebration
Parties and celebrations will take place in pubs, clubs and hotels, on town and village greens and in our streets, bringing the communities of the nation together in common friendship. Those town and cities twinned with others around the world will be encouraged invite them to join in this joyous occasion. We know that many of those taking part will be organising firework displays over the weekend too.
SATURDAY 9TH MAY 2020
Parties and celebrations continue.
SUNDAY 10TH MAY 2020
10.30am – Church Services of Celebration and Commemoration
We are encouraging all the churches and cathedrals throughout the land to organise services of celebration and commemoration at 10.30am on the morning of 10th May 2020, to celebrate the peace we share today and remember those who lost their lives or returned home dreadfully wounded. The services will also recognise the sacrifices of those women and others who kept the nation fed and the factories, mines and hospitals working during the most challenging of times. Churches wishing to take part should register their involvement at the VE day 75 website – www.veday75.org to enable us to keep in touch with them and inform the media of their involvement nrearer the time.
Tribute to the Millions & the Last Post
Those planning services will be encouraged to ask a representative from their local community to read out the Tribute to the Millions, which can be downloaded at www.veday75.org, and involve a local bugler or trumpeter to play the Last Post and Reveille. Their participation can also be registered on the VE Day 75 website – www.veday75.org.
I hope you will be able to join us in the international celebration of this important anniversary. Remember, you will be able to register in the VE Day 75 website – www.veday75.org.
My warmest regards,
Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR
Pageantmaster VE Day 75
Tel: + 44 (0) 7737 262 913