Churches and bellringers to help celebrate VE Day, 75 years on

by Michael Ford last modified 09 May, 2019 09:27 AM

Churches and local bellringers are being asked to help commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day next May.

8 May 1945 was the day peace emerged after nearly six years of war, so the 75th anniversary, VE Day 75, will cover the weekend of 8-10 May 2020.

The official organising Charity for VE Day 75 is SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, which also supports the Merchant Navy and among the planned activities over the weekend will be services of commemoration and celebration in churches, including the reading of the Tribute to the Millions, the playing of the Last Post, and churches and cathedrals 'Ringing out for Peace'.

There will also be community street parties, and pipers from around the world will open VE Day 75 by playing at 3pm local time in the country they are in, paying tribute to the millions who gave so much to earn our freedom today. 3pm is the time Winston Churchill officially announced the end of WW2 from the Cabinet Office at 10 Downing Street, London.

In association with the Central Council of Bellringers, bells in churches and cathedrals will be encouraged to ring out at 7pm on 8 May 2020, in a collective celebration of VE Day 75. The sound of church bells was heard throughout the country on VE Day.

On Sunday 10 May 2020 churches and cathedrals throughout the land are being encouraged to organise services of celebration and commemoration at 10.30am, to celebrate the peace we share today and remember those who lost their lives or returned home dreadfully wounded. The services will also recognise the sacrifices of those women and others who kept the nation fed and the factories, mines and hospitals working during the most challenging of times.

It is hoped it will be an international celebration of peace – a time to remember, reflect and pay tribute to the millions who played such a vital part in achieving it.

This includes the Armed Forces personnel from many countries who gave their lives, and those who returned home injured in body and mind; the hard-working women and men who kept the factories, mines, shipyards and farms operating throughout the years of turmoil; the ARP wardens, police officers, doctors, nurses, firemen, local defence volunteers and many others who put their lives on hold to safeguard the home front.

Churches wishing to take part should register their involvement at the VE day 75 website www.veday75.org, to keep in touch with the latest developments and inform the media nearer the time.

Those planning services will be encouraged to ask a representative from their local community to read out the Tribute to the Millions, which can be downloaded from www.veday75.org, and involve a local bugler or trumpeter to play the Last Post and Reveille. Their participation can also be registered on www.veday75.org.

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