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National pageantmaster encouraging people to raise toast to VE Day at home

PUBLISHED: 16:32 29 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:32 29 April 2020

The Celebration and Thanksgiving Service for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at St Andrew's Church, Gorleston. Pageantmaster Bruno Peek, organiser of the service. Picture: Denise Bradley

The Celebration and Thanksgiving Service for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at St Andrew's Church, Gorleston. Pageantmaster Bruno Peek, organiser of the service. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant 2012

Standing in his front garden, without a piper or bugler in sight, is not how Bruno Peek had imagined marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

The road to VE Day: men of the 1st Royal Norfolks on the advance during what would prove a hard-fought final campaign in the closing weeks of the war  Picture: Steve SnellingThe road to VE Day: men of the 1st Royal Norfolks on the advance during what would prove a hard-fought final campaign in the closing weeks of the war Picture: Steve Snelling

The Gorleston man had organised the Nation’s Toast, hoping to get people in the UK involved in recognising the sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians during the Second World War.

The anniversary would have seen a number of events across the country, including four pipers playing a rendition of Battle’s O’er, the traditional march played at the end of battle, from the four highest peaks in the UK.

While such celebrations are not possible for now, with the country under sweeping restrictions on socialising, Mr Peek is still encouraging people to raise a toast at 3pm on May 8 from their own homes.

He said: “We’re all disappointed but the safety of people comes first.

“It’s disappointing because we had so much planned for Great Yarmouth. There was supposed to be a piper at the top of Nelson’s Tower, one on Gorleston bandstand and another outside the James Paget Hospital.

“We’ve got to try make the best of a bad job,” he added. “There’s no way I can encourage people to have parties. How can we justify having a party when people are dying around us?

“But I’m still encouraging people to take part in the nation’s toast from their homes, to raise a glass at 3pm to toast the nation’s heroes of the Second World War.”

The toast is: ‘To those who gave so much, we thank you.’

Mr Peek added: “My wife and myself will be on our own and we will be undertaking the nation’s toast in our front garden.

“I don’t have a bugler or a piper,” he added.

His original plan was to be in London at Horses Guard Parade.

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“As much as I love our home, it’s not the same as if we were in Horses Guard,” Mr Peek said.

MORE: How you can join in VE Day 75 from home

Michael Jeal, mayor of Great Yarmouth, is also inviting people of the borough to join him in participating in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm on the 8th May, by standing at their own front doors, raising a glass of refreshment of their choice.

See more details: https://www.veday75.org/get-involved/nations-toast/

The borough council is encouraging people to have picnics at home, with members of their own household, and to put up patriotic bunting.


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