Portsmouth issues a plea for music and dance groups to join D-Day 75 commemoration

D-Day 70 Drumhead service on Southsea Common. Pictured is  the Royal Marines landing display''Picture: Paul Jacobs (141677-48)
D-Day 70 Drumhead service on Southsea Common. Pictured is the Royal Marines landing display''Picture: Paul Jacobs (141677-48)
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MOBILISATION orders have been drawn up by a council as it prepares to stage a stunning spectacle honouring all those who fought in D-Day.

Portsmouth City Council is calling on the area’s ‘cultural community’ to join its events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the pivotal invasion later this year.

The authority is looking to fill up its entertainment stage with dancers, singers and dramatic groups during a 1940s-style weekend of displays on Southsea Common on June 8 and 9.

Portsmouth’s culture boss, Councillor Steve Pitt, said groups would form part of the city’s planned 1940s revival fair.

He said: ‘We are going to be the face of Britain’s D-Day 75 commemorations but it’s important the whole city gets behind it and shows how proud they are of Portsmouth’s military heritage and of its armed forces.

‘That’s why we’re looking for groups to come out and join us.

‘We have got an incredible amount of talent here in Portsmouth.

‘We want to see how the city’s cultural community can come together to commemorate D-Day 75.

‘Whether that’s a swing band coming out and performing songs from the 1940s or a dance group putting on a show – we want to see something special.

‘The sky really is the limit. If people come to us with really good ideas then we’re all ears.’

Portsmouth has already been named as the UK’s national focus for the D-Day 75 event in June.

The city will hold its major ceremony on June 5, the day before the official anniversary of the invasion.

However, the programme for the event will continue right the way until June 9, with a major host of attractions planned at Southsea Common and in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.

Cllr Pitt added: ‘Portsmouth will be at the heart of the national D-Day 75 commemorations and honouring the courageous actions of Normandy and Second World War veterans.

‘We're really keen to engage with local schools, youth and performance groups to encourage them to get involved throughout the weekend of June 8 and 9.’

The plea comes ahead of an expected announcement by the Royal Navy and Ministry of Defence over what support they will be providing for the spectacle.

City leaders have been in close discussion with top brass within the military, with a final decision due in the next few weeks.

It’s hoped this will include a military band and aerial fly-past.

Cllr Pitt said: ‘We’re expecting full details of exactly what the MoD will be providing for the commemorations to be announced in a couple of weeks.’

To join the D-Day 75 events on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, email: events@portsmouthcc.gov.uk