The Lord Mayor of Chester's VE Day commemoration events move online

27 April 2020

Cheshire West residents are being encouraged to create their own special lock down commemoration weekend from the comfort of their own homes to mark VE Day after the civic public commemoration events to mark 75 years since the Second World War ended have sadly had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. 

Residents are being encouraged to decorate their homes in red, white and blue to mark VE Day and have their own stay at home party and picnic with people from their own household.   

The Lord Mayor of Chester, The Chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chester Cathedral have come together to pre-record a Civic VE Day service which will be available to watch on the Internet from 8 May.  Military Personnel, local dignitaries, clergy and school children have all contributed to the short service which has been recorded from their personal locations, including on board HMS Albion. 

The Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Mark Williams said: “I was saddened by the news that the civic events to commemorate VE Day were having to be cancelled but I was still keen to mark this special anniversary and it was an honour to take part in the pre-recorded civic service.  I would like to encourage residents to decorate their homes or window in red, white and blue, join in the national toast and watch the civic service.” 

School children have entered a local poetry competition. The Chairman and Lord Mayor invited key stage 2 school children to imagine that it is 1945 and the end of the war had just been declared, how would they have celebrated this historic day; did they know someone in the war, or did they lose someone; or did they organise a street party. What did they do?  The winning entries will be read as part of the pre-recorded civic service. 

Over the bank holiday weekend Chester Town Hall will be decorated in Union Flags and lit up red, white and blue and the Cathedral will still take part in the national ringing out for peace at 7pm on 8 May. 

Councillor Bob Rudd, The Chairman of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “We are still keen to make VE Day a memorable one and to commemorate our war heroes from the comfort of our homes.  We would also like to encourage residents to stop what they are doing on 8 May at 3pm and raise a glass to participate in the national toast to the heroes of WW2. 

“Look out for a lot of online activities from our Museums, Libraries, Record Office, Heritage and Arts team from the 4 to 8 May. We’ll be sharing stories, photographs and War time objects from our collections. We’ve also invited contributions from a few special guests.” 

The Dean of Chester, Dr Tim Stratford said: “On 8 May 1945 there was huge relief and great celebrations across Europe as the allies accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany and the guns fell silent.  Every anniversary we remember VE Day with a mixture of sadness for lives lost in the violence of war and of commitment that war should never again overrun our nations.
 
“We live at a time when national relationships across Europe are once more being recast.  It is as important as ever that we continue to thank God for the relative peacefulness we have enjoyed in our own land since 1945 and commit ourselves to greater world peace.  We are delighted to be part of the pre-recorded civic service and I do hope everyone takes time to watch the service”. 

It is proposed that public events, including Military Parades, a public toast to the war heroes, outdoor concert plus the Cathedral and local churches taking part in “ringing out for peace” will now be moved to the weekend of 15 and 16 August when hopefully VE Day and VJ Day can both be celebrated, both momentous points in our history. By then, the Country might be ready to celebrate, recapturing the spirit of post-war Britain, something Her Majesty the Queen touched on herself in her recent address to the nation.


 

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