Coronavirus (Covid-19): Latest information and advice about coronavirus please click here. For information from East Grinstead Town Council, click here.

VE Day 75 – 8th May 2020

8 May 2020

This year marks the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe; VE Day. The day in 1945 that marked the end to the hostilities and the end of WW2 across Europe.

To commemorate this momentous occasion the British Government has moved the early, May Bank Holiday from Monday 4th to Friday 8th to allow as many people as possible to celebrate and remember the heroes of the War.

East Grinstead has had a history of marking this occasion-

On VE Day May 8th 1945, many of the badly burnt airman (the Guinea Pigs) being treated by Sir Archibald McIndoe at the Queen Victoria Hospital, made their way into the town of East Grinstead to help celebrate the end of the war. During the evening they acquired kegs of beer from the local public houses, which they took back to the hospital to add to the bottles of stout they had already accumulated. The beer was tied to a portable bed table to create a make shift beer wagon which they wheeled around to the immobile patients so no matter what their ailments or injuries they all received a drink to join in the celebrations.

Photograph from East Grinstead Museum

Queen’s Road had a slightly less raucous street party for children complete with magician.

in 2015 to mark the 70th Anniversary, East Grinstead Town Council arranged a ‘Street Party’ which closed the High Street to traffic. Thousands of people come together to celebrate and it was a wonderful sight to behold. Many residents at the event, remembered attending street parties in 1945 and felt that the 2015 version was as joyous.

Today the World faces another battle; the Coronavirus, Covid-19, and plans for events with mass gatherings have had to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely. The Town Council had plans for a party at East Court and has hopes that this too will happen at some point in the future.

In the meantime, however, even in this period of social distancing we can still celebrate and remember those that gave so much during WW2. The Council is encouraging residents to hold their own VE Day ‘Stay at Home’ family parties, following all Government restrictions and regulations of course. This is not an excuse to get together with friends, family members and neighbours outside your household groups, but a chance to dress your homes in red, white and blue and celebrate in any way you can. In this way even in our isolation, we can come together for a moment of shared joy.

East Grinstead Queen Victoria Hospital is expecting a flypast of the iconic Spitfire at around 1pm depending on the weather. PLEASE DO NOT GATHER AT THE HOSPITAL OR EAST COURT. ADHERE TO ALL GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS.

From Daily Mail

There will be dedicated programming on the BBC, 40s music 2pm to 4pm on Meridian FM and other ideas on the Royal British Legion website.

The Original day was planned to follow a standard format

2.55pm: The playing of the Last Post
Buglers, trumpeters and cornet players might like to consider playing the Last Post from the safety of their front or back garden, outside their front door or from their balcony or window. We would ask you not to play in an area that could attract a group of people, however.

3pm: The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II
We would very much like to encourage you all to still take part in the Nation’s Toast from the safety of your homes to pay tribute to the many millions in the United Kingdom and overseas who sacrificed so much to secure the freedom we have today.

We would invite you to join the Town Mayor, Cllr Danny Favor, live on the East Grinstead Town Council Facebook page at 3pm, stand and raise a glass or cup of refreshment of your choice and undertake the following toast: “For those that gave so much, we thank you.” This will be the first time such a tribute has ever taken place.

6.55pm: The Cry for Peace Around the World.
Town criers and others who wish to take part can perform the Cry for Peace from their front or back garden, at their front door or from their balcony or window. The words can be found on the Download page of the VE Day 75 website – www.veday75.org. Please don’t perform it from a place that might encourage people to gather.

We would love to see photographs and videos of your celebrations, so please post them to our Facebook or twitter @egcouncil and @VisitEG or send to towncouncil@eastgrinstead.gov.uk.

Please mark this momentous occasion in any way you can and enjoy!

People overcame adversity then and so, in time, will we.

Stay Home Saves Lives.

X