Plans for VE Day 75 celebrations in Lee-on-the-Solent to be the biggest 'in living memory'

COMMEMORATIONS in Lee-on-the-Solent for the 75th anniversary of VE Day will be the largest event in living memory for the town.

Friday, 27th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 27th December 2019, 6:00 am
VE Day in London, the crowd gathered outside Buckingham Palace. They cheer and wave as their Majesties the King and Queen with the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose appear on the balcony. Picture: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Preparations are under way for a three-day programme of festivities to mark VE Day 75, which is likely to also be the last significant celebration for living veterans of the Second World War.

The event, organised by members of the community, will feature a musical picnic, military vehicle display, commemorative church service and more from May 8-10 2020.

Lead organiser Jonathan Moore says it will be a celebration remembered for many years to come.

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‘It started out as just being a big street party – like the ones held 75 years ago – and has really snowballed from there.

‘Since then it’s expanded to become a huge event with HMS Sultan involved and £15,000 of sponsorship.

‘This will hopefully be the biggest event in Lee-on-the-Solent in living memory; this place has an incredibly rich history and this is a perfect way to unite the old and the new.’

It comes as VE commemorations are also announced for Portsmouth, with this event being named as the official festivities for the whole of Gosport.

Lee-on-the-Solent’s HMS Daedalus, now known as Solent Airport, was instrumental in the D-Day assault with a number of Naval Air Squadrons posted on-site.

‘This is a great extension to HMS Daedalus’ connection to D-Day,’ Jonathan said.

‘There is no better time to bring the community of Lee-on-the-Solent together like this.’

Ahead of the event, veterans will be going to Lee-on-the-Solent Infant and Junior Schools to talk to children about life during the Second World War.

But following the tragic death of 100-year-old Portsmouth veteran John Jenkins on December 17, he says this could be our last opportunity to hold a major event commemorating their sacrifice.

He said: ‘A lot of these veterans are sadly dying out – they aren’t going to be around forever.

‘These people are legends and it’s important to do something like this for the veterans who gave so much for their country.

‘This event is about freedom and celebrating the allied victory in Europe and subsequently across the globe.’