How to celebrate VE day in and around Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant Library
While celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day have been largely abandoned due to lockdown people are still being encouraged to mark the milestone at home.
Street parties, concerts, and church services were due to take place across the borough on Friday, May 8, declared a bank holiday to allow everyone to take part in the occasion.
At 11am the Royal British Legion is leading a national moment of remembrance with a two minute silence to honour the service and sacrifice of the second world war generation.
Then at 3pm, Great Yarmouth mayor Michael Jeal rallying residents to join him in the Nation’s Toast by raising a glass at their front doors and saying “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”
In Great Yarmouth, and in common with all other communities, public events have been postponed.
Instead people are encouraged to have picnics at home, with members of their own household, and to put up patriotic bunting.
Mr Jeal said: “In these unprecedented times, the spirit of VE Day – of coming together as a borough and nation for a common cause, of remembering those who have sadly passed away, and of looking ahead to recovery – is as relevant as ever.
“I hope that lots of people will join in the celebrations and thanks-giving at home.”
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Villages around the borough are also having to call off their plans.
In Ormesby St Margaret the village green was set to host a big event with stalls and afternoon tea which has now been put off to a time when people are allowed to gather again.
Meanwhile Gorleston’s Bruno Peek, the royal pageantmaster, has expressed his disappointment at having to make “the best of a bad job.”
However, a fleet of five planes sponsored by Mr Peek will take to the skies above Cambridge on Friday to write a poignant tribute ‘To those that gave so much we thank you.”
Mr Peek said: “It will look amazing and will be a real, unique tribute to the millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all share and enjoy the freedom we have today.”
As homes across the borough begin to trim up people are coming up with their own ways to celebrate.
Scratby Bakery has sold out of its special VE Day boxes, providing a traditional picnic-style afternoon tea.
And Margo’s Lounge in Bells Road, Gorleston, is selling range of time-warp favourites from its community window on Thursday and Friday.
In Yarmouth heritage guides will be delivering a virtual second world war walk via its Facebook page.
And Jack Clarke, who sings big band jazz numbers, will perform a VE day concert for the elderly at The Claremont in Caister, with social distancing meaning he will sing outside to the residents inside.
Mariners are also being encouraged to join in via the Royal Navy’s #ShineALight campaign.
Vessels are being asked to sound their horns at 3pm, and shine lights into the night sky at 9.30pm.
A mobile library has been spruced up to commemorate the day, with the van now complete with photographs taken during WWII both at home and abroad.
Norfolk Library Service has included photos of the Home Guard, the American troops stationed in the Old Buckenham airbase, the Land Army, and a street party taking place in Walsingham to celebrate VE Day.
Although completed before the current grounding of our fleet, the service hopes to display the commemorative van when it resumes its stops across the county in the future.