Kirklees Council announce their VE Day plans

The Council has shared its plans to celebrate VE Day whilst adhering to social distancing.

Friday, 1st May 2020, 4:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 10:28 am
Coun Shabir Pandor.

The council is encouraging residents to celebrate VE Day safely by publishing activities and ideas on their website, as well as holding a special digitally streamed ceremony, which will include lighting up Victoria Tower at Castle Hill, Batley, Dewsbury and Cleckheaton Town Halls in Red, White and Blue for all to enjoy.

In the run-up to VE Day, Kirklees Council will be publishing resources on its web page to help residents organise safe celebrations and learn more about World War II in Kirklees.

On VE Day itself, Friday 8 May, which is a National Bank Holiday, residents all over the borough will be encouraged to celebrate safely.

Due to social distancing rules, traditional street parties, are not possible but the council is suggesting that doorstep parties could be held instead.

Residents will be encouraged to decorate their house or flat with homemade bunting and pictures in their windows, create their own flags to wave and to join in with a national toast to those who served in the war.

The ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ will take place at 3pm on Friday 8 May. Everyone will be encouraged to stand up, raise a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertake the following ‘Toast’ – “To those who gave so much, we thank you”.

To keep the celebrations going, residents can have picnics or afternoon tea on their doorsteps and chat to neighbours whilst maintaining a safe distance.

These socially distanced celebrations will give people the opportunity to celebrate with the people in their household and their neighbours whilst keeping safe.

Then at 9pm on Friday 8 May, BBC One will be featuring a singalong of the 1943 wartime classic 'We'll Meet Again' by Dame Vera Lynn as part of their VE Day broadcast. There will also be an on-line performance of the song by local singer, Julia Wood, live from Castle Hill.

A special video message from the Leader of the Council, the cabinet, frontline workers and war veterans will go live shortly before the 9pm singalong and then from 9pm to 11pm, Victoria Tower at Castle Hill will be lit up in red, white and blue, with wartime-like searchlights. The Town Halls in Dewsbury, Batley and Cleckheaton will also be lit up as a mark of respect.

Coun Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council said: “VE Day is one of the most significant dates in our history; it marked the end of nearly six years of sacrifice both on the battlefield and at home. The sacrifices of the men and women who lived through that time should never be forgotten.

"Whilst the current pandemic might mean we are all having to celebrate this occasion differently, it shouldn’t stop us from showing our respects and taking a moment to remember the sacrifices made by men and women in both the first and second world wars and subsequent conflicts.

"We can all show our respects for the nation’s heroes past and present by celebrating from home, with the people in our household and from a safe distance with our neighbours, or by using technology to celebrate with those further away.

"Now more than ever we may be able to understand a little of what it was like for people during the war, the sense of uncertainty, the strict measures placed on daily life and the fear of something we do not fully understand. As such, there is no better time to learn more about the war and how our ancestors lived through that difficult time.”

Are you doing something to celebrate VE Day? Send your stories and photos to [email protected]