Celebrate Virtual VE Day 75 safely at home
We are delighted to be involved in a new initiative by the Borough Council of West Norfolk to help us all celebrate VE Day. Whilst all the national VE Day celebrations are delayed until VJ Day in August, plans are underway in West Norfolk to enable people to celebrate the anniversary of Victory in Europe safely in their own homes on 8 May 2020.
A programme of activities has been put together, adjusting those that would have taken place in the Town Hall and around the town centre, so that people can still enjoy them, without leaving their homes.
Stories of Lynn and the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, working with local organisations including True's Yard, Festival Too, King's Lynn Festival, Norfolk Museums Service, the Noise and Chance School of Dance, Major Swing and King's Lynn & District RAFA, have come up with a range of activities that enable people to commemorate and celebrate this historic occasion, within the constraints of the current social distancing guidelines.
Activities online include making table decorations from recycled materials, making paper hats, bunting and flags, baking a 1940’s recipe, plane spotting with an ARP Warden’s chart, taking a 1940’s dance class, and of course having a party in your house or garden. The country will raise a teacup or glass at 3pm to toast the heroes – both then and now during this current crisis.
True’s Yard have produced a gallery of archive images from the time, and people can tune into Zoom for a talk about Norfolk airfields.
There will be a video of food historian Kathy Hipperson, cooking the winning 1940's recipe so people can cook along, or pick another recipe to produce for their party.
The Festival will be sharing online a film clip of Dame Myra Hess who gave many free lunchtime concerts in London’s National Gallery during the war to keep up morale. One of the most popular pieces she performed was her own transcription of Bach’s Jesu Joy of man's desiring.
At 7.30pm the Festival Too Chairman Mark Stanford will be hosting a 2-hour disco so that people can keep the party going, leading up to the national singing of "We’ll Meet Again", following on from an address by HM The Queen at 9pm.
Throughout the day, the Mayor will be making virtual visits to people’s homes and there will be a prize for the best-decorated house or garden. The Mayor will invite the winning family for a special tea in the town hall when it is safe to do so.
Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, Deputy Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk and Cabinet Member for Culture Heritage and Health, said: "As we are thanking our key workers at this present difficult period, it is important for us to remember also our heroes from the past who gave their lives for our country.
"Although we must stay at home and stay safe we can still celebrate this momentous anniversary by taking part in the suggested activities which will help to make it a special day to remember.
"I am delighted that so many community groups and individuals have offered their help with this project, and that the local media KLFM, Lynn News and Your Local Paper and BBC Radio Norfolk have really got behind the project too. The photographs that people share with us will become the archives of the future and it is important, that while we go through these challenging times, we show how we can all still come together."
Ahead of the celebrations, Cllr Geoff Hipperson, the Mayor of the Borough of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, is asking people to invite him to their party. Fill in the online form to request a visit, and he will join you virtually via Facetime or Whatsapp Video. He is hoping to fit in around 20 visits, time allowing, including visiting staff and patients at the QE Hospital at 3pm on Friday, 8 May, when the whole country will be toasting our heroes past and present.
The idea for this event has come from Rachael Williams the Learning and Engagement Officer at Stories of Lynn and Maj (Ret’d) Gary Walker, Secretary of the King's Lynn & District RAFA, in association with the Mayor's office, the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, True's Yard and Norfolk Museums Service.
Maj (Ret’d) Gary Walker MBE TD VR, Secretary of King's Lynn District RAFA, said: "As Secretary of the local Branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, I was keen that we both commemorate and celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and so spoke to the borough’s Civics Officer last year to discuss and prepare a plan for the borough for VE Day, which would allow everyone to participate. With the help of Rachael Williams, Learning and Engagement Officer at Stories of Lynn, we produced a comprehensive day of events, all of which have now sadly had to be shelved. However, the people in 1945 had faced far greater challenges and came through them. We were not going to be dismayed by the current lock-down and have produced a package of ‘virtual’ VE Day events for all to take part in. I hope everyone will take the time to learn more about the importance of this day and to enjoy the opportunity to both remember and celebrate our heroes of yesteryear."
To book the Mayor for your party, simply go to west-norfolk.gov.uk, search 'Invite the Mayor', then complete the online form, with details of your party, your contact phone number and whether you have Whatsapp or Facetime. You can also suggest your preferred time, although timings cannot be guaranteed.
Links to videos, galleries, talks, the disco and activities are all available by visiting storiesoflynn.co.uk/VEDay75 and the Stories of Lynn social media channels @storiesoflynn on Twitter and Facebook. Some links will be added on the day.