VE DAY 75: Huge light show to illuminate the sky above Portsmouth - with residents called to join in the fun

A SPECTACULAR light show will illuminate the sky over Portsmouth next week as the city marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 12:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th April 2020, 1:13 pm

Residents across the city are urged to get their torches out and shine them into the sky from their gardens or balconies as part of the From Darkness to Light spectacle.

The two-hour display will see large spotlights shining in both the north and south of the city from 9.30pm on Friday, May 8, and is part of a revamped list of activities revealed by Portsmouth City Council to commemorate the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Councillor Steve Pitt, deputy leader of the council and the city’s culture chief, said urged people to join in with the display, which will be recorded by a drone flying over the city.

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British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addresses the crowds from the balcony of the Ministry of Health in Whitehall on VE Day, on May 8, 1945. From left to right, Ernest Bevin, Churchill, Sir John Anderson, Lord Woolton and Herbert Morrison.  (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill addresses the crowds from the balcony of the Ministry of Health in Whitehall on VE Day, on May 8, 1945. From left to right, Ernest Bevin, Churchill, Sir John Anderson, Lord Woolton and Herbert Morrison. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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‘Just as it was during the Second World war there is a time for the community to come together and support each other. We need to come together as a city and show people how great “Team Portsmouth” is,’ he added.

People will be able to hear first-hand accounts of VE Day in 1945 voiced by local acting talents from Victoryland Theatre School, and can recreate families listening around the wireless to Winston Churchill's famous speech marking the end of war on the continent from 3pm.

Councillor Steve Pitt, cabinet member for culture and city development and deputy leader of Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Sarah Standing (090320-9853)

With lockdown measures in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus, many of the planned outdoor events like parades and shows have been cancelled or postponed.

The city council hopes people will still be able to celebrate the milestone event but have insisted people must follow social distancing guidelines.

Cllr PItt added: ‘We know that this is a difficult time for many people in Portsmouth and across the globe. These celebrations are a world away from what we had planned, but we felt it was really important to mark the anniversary of this momentous day.

‘We're living through challenging times. Community is more important than ever. The tide of good will and volunteering we've seen in Portsmouth over the last weeks and months shows that the extraordinary Portsmouth spirit is alive and well.

‘I hope this day can be a moment of shared celebration - and a reminder that, even in these dark days, we know that lighter times will return again.’

Helen Atkinson, the council's interim director of public health said all activities could be done from the home and insisted this was ‘in no way encouragement for people to gather together outside of their homes, or invite other people into their households’.

‘It is absolutely essential that people continue to abide by the government's instructions to stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus,’ she said.

People can find information about the activities planned at portsmouth.gov.uk/VE75

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