The Royal British Legion and Her Majesty’s government is calling on the nation to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) with a weekend of celebrations from the 8-10 May.
Local communities are being asked to come together and place the Second World War generation at the heart of the party.
Community celebrations will reflect the national events taking place in London where Second World War veterans are invited to attend as the nation’s VIPs.
On Sunday, May 10, there will a Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, followed by a parade from the Abbey to Horse Guards Parade and into St James’s Park, where the Legion will host a lunch reception for the veterans.
Communities across the UK are being encouraged to organise or take part in celebrations which recognise and salute an extraordinary generation who played such an important part in our history.
The legion is working in partnership with the government to mark the anniversary and hopes that community halls, public spaces and homes will be decked with bunting and playing music to recreate the celebrations of 70 years ago.
Veterans such as Eric Goldrein will experience the VE Day celebration on UK soil that he never had. Eric, 94, from Hale Village, Liverpool, served with the Royal Artillery during the Second World War and was in Italy when the news came through that the war in Europe was over.
“We celebrated in a field, the Signallers set up speakers playing music and the locals came out and joined in too, happy that the war was finally over. I heard about the street parties back home and I’m looking forward to being part of these 70th Anniversary celebrations.”
Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO, national president of The Royal British Legion, said: “We are honoured to play our part in helping the nation mark 70 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.
“The Legion has a responsibility to help the memories of those of who have fought and died in our nation’s Armed Forces live on for future generations.
“The commemoration of this conflict, still in living memory, gives us the opportunity to salute the Second World War generation.
“We hope that all communities will use the VE Day 70 commemorations to thank them and celebrate the role they played in our nation’s history.”
If you don’t plan on organising an event yourself, you can find out what is happening in your local area at www.veday.org.uk or on local government websites www.gov.uk/veday70 . The legion’s microsite will also contain ideas and tips on event planning with décor and recipe inspiration.
The Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion helps the British Armed Forces, veterans, and their families to live on to a more hopeful future through welfare, comradeship and representation as well as being the Nation’s custodian of Remembrance.
A Royal British Legion spokesman said: ‘We help serving members of the Armed Forces, ex-Service men and women and their families, now and for the rest of their lives. We provide practical care, advice and support to the Armed Forces family all year round. Welfare is at the heart of everything we do.
‘We are one of the UK’s largest membership organisations; More than 300,000 members show their support for the work we do.
‘We work with all political parties, campaigning to improve the lives of all Service people - past, present and future.
‘We safeguard the memory of those who have given their lives for our freedom through Remembrance education and events. We organise the annual Poppy Appeal; remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and raising money to help those in need today.’