Goody bags for veterans, a YouTube church service and parties at home are among the ways Croydon residents are being included in the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
On 8 May 1945 Victory in Europe was declared, and tomorrow’s VE Day 75th anniversary includes commemorations in Croydon involving the council, volunteers, faith groups and national organisations.
Planned national parades were cancelled because of ongoing coronavirus restrictions. However, Friday remains a bank holiday, and Croydon’s VE Day commemorations include:
• Goody bags distributed on Friday by the council and local volunteers to 100 local armed forces veterans, including those from the Second World War
• An online Museum of Croydon exhibition of wartime films, photographs, art and artefacts
• A pre-recorded VE Day Sunday service hosted online instead of at Croydon Minster.
Volunteers and army reservists will distribute the 100 bags to Croydon veterans’ homes, which will include a local Signal VE Celebration beer or gin and tonic, biscuits, cake, a potted plant and a card.
The gesture was the idea of local charity Croydon Commitment with logistical support from Croydon Council and borough military champion Councillor Toni Letts, and donations were from businesses Signal Brewery, Waitrose, Handelsbanken, Tulsi restaurant, Daily Mail and the council’s Cherry Orchard Garden Centre.
On Friday the Museum of Croydon’s online event from 11am-1pm will be available on its website https://museumofcroydon.com/events/vedaycelebrations as well as on its Twitter and Facebook pages, plus via the council’s own Your Croydon social media accounts.
The Sunday service on YouTube will be led by Father Andrew Bishop of Croydon Minster and will include contributions from the Mayor of Croydon, Councillor Humayun Kabir, and the Representative Deputy Lieutenant of the London Borough of Croydon, Colonel Ray Wilkinson.
Despite lockdown restrictions, local people are also being encouraged to hold their own colourful VE Day-themed party at home. For printable bunting, graphics, nostalgic music suggestions on Spotify and wartime recipes like cauliflower cheese, visit: https://ve-vjday75.gov.uk/plan-your-ve-day-party/
Nationwide events include:
• A two-minute silence at 11am
• A nation’s toast at 3pm
• A message to the nation from Her Majesty The Queen on BBC One at 9pm
• A national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ immediately afterwards.
To discover your own family’s connection to the Second World War, public access to all UK historical records available on ancestry.co.uk are free until Sunday 10 May.
“While there will be no VE Day parades or crowds this year, Croydon people can still join this historic event from home, whether that’s the two-minute silence, toast to veterans, joining our Museum of Croydon exhibition or a VE Day party.
“Recognising those who have served their country is especially important on this 75th anniversary, so I want to thank Croydon Commitment and generous local businesses for working with the council to donate VE Day goody bags to 100 Croydon veterans.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
Councillor Toni Letts, Croydon Council’s military champion, said: “Our military veterans have given so much to their country, so I am grateful to the local volunteers, businesses, army reservists and council staff that have come together to provide these goody bags as a small but significant way of saying thank you.”
To share your VE Day-themed messages on social media, use #GreatBritishBunting and #VEDay75