We are delighted to have these messages of support for VE Day 75, from organisations that represent many of those taking part in the celebrations for the end of the Second World War.
• Chief Executive SSAFA
• British Beer & Pub Association
• Chief of the Clan Hay
• Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
• Wing Commander Gill Singleton, Principal Director of Music, RAF Air Cadets
• Ian Murray – Executive Director, Society of Editors
• National Association of Local Councils
• One Voice Wales
• Lord Griffiths of Bury Port, Brigade President, The Boys’ Brigade
• President of the Irish Council of Churches and Co-Chair of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting
• Paul Millward – Chair of National Association of Civic Officers
• Karen James, Chief Executive, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT
• Barry Smith, Principal, Great Yarmouth Charter Academy
• Tamsin Poulter, Principal, Cliff Park Ormiston Academy
• Peter Good 41Club Great Britain & Ireland President Elect 2020/21
• Chief Constable Simon Bailey The Norfolk Constabulary Service
• Chief Constable Steve Jupp The Suffolk Constabulary Service
• Donna Wallbank, President of Rotary International of Great Britain and Ireland
• Bill Skelly Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police
• Susan Osborne MSc FRSA, Co-Founder War Horse Memorial CIC
• Jennifer Major, President of The Girls’ Brigade in Scotland
Lieutenant-General (retd) Sir Andrew Gregory, KBE, CB
CEO – SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity
SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity is delighted to be the official charity partner for these celebrations, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.
There are all kinds of events you can get involved in to mark VE Day 75 and raise money for SSAFA over the weekend of the 8-10 May 2020. As well as holding street parties, fetes and dinners, we want as many people throughout the country to undertake the ’nation’s toast to the heroes of WW II,’ bagpipers to play ‘Battle’s O’er’, churches bells ‘ringing out for peace’ and town criers calling out ’the cry for peace around the world’.
We are all very aware that this could be the last major Second World War anniversary which includes those who lived through the conflict. By raising money for SSAFA you will be supporting those currently serving, regular and Reservist, in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force, veterans and military families as well veterans from the Merchant Navy.
VE Day, the 8th May 1945 was the moment millions of families across Europe were able to breathe a sigh of relief as peace broke out. Let us celebrate this historic, happy event, commemorating and respecting the memory of those who served in that conflict and particularly remembering those who gave their lives in order to give us the many freedoms we enjoy today.
Brigid Simmonds OBE
Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association
When Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill announced at 3pm on 8th May 1945 Victory in Europe, without a doubt, celebrations would have been held in pubs up and down the land. The 75th anniversary of VE Day will be a wonderful opportunity for the nation to come together once more at the heart of their community – the local pub – for the The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War 2 at 3pm and the Cry for Peace Around the World on 8th May 2020 and for a weekend of celebrations.
The British Beer & Pub Association will be inspiring every pub across the UK to take part in the 75th anniversary of VE Day. It will be a celebration to remember those who gave their lives, but also those who did so much at home in factories, on the land, in the home defence force and in local communities. Pubs have the same unique role in our lives now as they did 75 years ago, so there is no better place to go to celebrate and remember.
Merlin Sereld Victor Gilbert Hay
24th Earl of Erroll, Lord High Constable of Scotland, Lord Hay and Slains, 32nd Chief of the Clan Hay
2020 sees the 75th anniversary of VE Day: the day marking the acceptance by the allies of World War 2, of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces, thus marking the end of WW2.
In commemoration of this and of the fallen, wounded and survivors, I call upon all pipers throughout the world to participate in marking this important milestone in history by taking part in a worldwide celebration on 8th May 2020 and playing the designated tunes at 3pm local time that afternoon as part of VE Day 75.
President, The Central Council of Church Bell Ringers
The sound of bells ringing is deeply rooted in British culture. Bells provide the grand soundtrack to our historic moments, calling us to wake, to pray, to work, to arms, to feast, to celebrate and, in times of crisis, to come together.
During the Second World War, the bells of Britain were silenced, only to be used to give warning of air raids or invasion. Yet other churches had their bells removed as a preventative measure, placed in secure storage for the duration of the war.
During German air raids, many churches suffered damage from bombs and incendiaries. Such iconic churches as Coventry Cathedral, St Clement Danes and St Mary-le-Bow in London, along with many others, saw their bells destroyed through enemy action.
On 8 May 1945, the news the nation had been waiting for arrived. War in Europe was over! Six years of bloodshed that had killed approximately 382,700 members of the British Armed Forces and 67,100 civilians had finally come to a close.
Bells across the country pealed, tugs on the Thames sounded their horns and planes victory-rolled overhead. A sea of red, white and blue erupted as men, women and children rejoiced.
At 7pm on Friday evening 8th May 2020, bells will ring out across the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The nation’s volunteer bellringers are encouraged to ring church and cathedral bells at this time on Friday 8th May, as part of VE Day 75 – Ringing out for Peace, the international celebration being organised to commemorate and celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the end of WW11.
In 2018, bellringers recruited thousands of new volunteers to symbolically replace those ringers who made the supreme sacrifice in the First World War. In the same way, we invite more volunteers to get in touch with their local bell tower, take up the call of this unique craft, and stand ready to ring at 7pm on Friday 8th May.
Wing Commander Gil Singleton MCGI RFSA RAFAC
Principal Director of Music ( Air Cadets )
The end of the First World War (or Great War as it was originally known) was a time of reflection for our great nation, and people’s thoughts were that it should never happen again. This was, sadly, not to be and an even greater armed conflict was to ensue within living memory of those participants of the first war. The end of that first epic struggle was marked on 11th November 2018 with an incredible participation across the United Kingdom, and indeed the world by military, cadet and civilian musicians in the performing of Battle’s O’er, the Last Post and Reveille.
To mark the end of the war in Europe (VE Day) on 8th May 2020, 4 cadets (one from each of the Cadet Forces) will perform the Last Post and Reveille from the top of the 4 highest peaks in the United Kingdom at 2.45pm. This unique occurrence will be a one-off and will precede the playing of the haunting Battle’s O’er and a new composition at 3pm by Pipers at individual locations throughout the United Kingdom and countries around the world. This will then be followed by ‘A Cry for Peace’ at 7pm from the Town Criers in the various Cities and Towns coupled with the ringing of church bells under the banner ‘Ringing Out for Peace’ from all participating Cathedrals, Abbeys and Churches. In addition, it is planned for the Last Post and Reveille to be played in churches countrywide on Sunday 10th May 2020 during services of celebration and commemoration.
The term ‘Heroes’ not only refers to all those men and women in HM Forces but to all those who participated on the Home Front in so many ways, not least of which those who were in industry supporting the military in supplies and weaponry.
It is planned that all the cadets in the Air Training Corps, Army Cadet Force, Combined Cadet Forces and the Sea Cadet Corps will raise a glass of any beverage, wherever they may be, at 3pm on Friday May 8th 2020, and take part in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II,’ leading the youth of the country in this unique tribute to those that gave so much to enable us to enjoy the freedom we have today.
This gesture from the current youth of the United Kingdom will, in some small way, indicate that their predecessors are not forgotten and that their sacrifice and memory lives on.
Executive Director, Society of Editors
“The Society of Editors is delighted to be associated with the VE Day 75 commemorations planned for the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.
“The media has always played a vital role in keeping the flay of freedom and liberty flying and it is essential that it now plays its part in ensuring that those who gave so much in that desperate struggle – both on the battlefield and the home front – are remembered.
“With the generation that played its part to keep us free getting old now, this will be the last time we will have them with us for a meaningful commemoration of those events 75 years ago and we should ensure Britain and the world pays their tribute to them.”
Chairman of NALC
VE Day – The 8th May 2020, represents an important milestone in the history of our communities, our nation, and indeed the world. The 8th May 1945 was the day, 75 years ago, that peace broke out and brought an end to nearly six years of war and carnage. We cannot therefore, let this day pass without reflecting on the enormous sacrifice, courage and sheer determination of the people from all walks of life, from so many local communities, who saw us through this dark and frightening period.
Those Armed Forces from many countries who gave their lives for us all, and those who returned home injured in body, mind and spirit. The hard-working women and men who kept the factories, mines, shipyards and farms operating throughout the years of hardship and turmoil. The ARP wardens, those who toiled in the fields, the police officers, doctors, nurses, fireman, local defence volunteers and others who put their lives on hold to safeguard the home front.
VE Day 75, which has been extended to cover the weekend of 8th – 10th May 2020, will be an international celebration of peace – a time to reflect, remember and pay tribute to those many millions who played such a vital role in achieving it.
I therefore encourage every local (parish and town) council throughout our country to take part in this unique celebration / commemoration. Ways you can get involved include raising a glass as part of the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II,’ undertaking the ‘Cry for Peace Around the World’ by a local Town Crier or individuals from local communities, the ringing of church bells, the organising of street parties, parties in town and village halls, pubs, clubs, hotels, on town and village greens, along with organising services of celebration and commemoration in our nations churches and cathedrals as part of VE Day 75.
Councillor Mike Cuddy
National Chairman, One Voice Wales
Llais Cynhorau Cymuned a Thref yng Nghymru The Voice of Community and Town Councils in Wales.
As the national representative body for the 735 Community and Town Councils in Wales, we are honoured to support the VE Day 75 commemorations. The 8th May 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War when peace broke out across Europe and brought an end to nearly six years of war.
VE Day 75 provides an opportunity for an international celebration of peace – a time to reflect, remember and pay tribute to the heroic efforts of those who served and supported the efforts of the Second World War and those who lost loves ones and whose lives were changed forever. Troops, workers, civilians and government departments were moved to avoid falling bombs – and as many as 200,000 people moved to Wales between 1939 and 1941.
I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage Community and Town Councils to play your part in VE Day 75 events between 8th and 10th May including the ‘Toast to the Heroes’ at 3pm, ‘Cry for Peace Around the World’ at 7pm and to involve your local Churches in ‘Ringing out for Peace’ by ringing their bells at 7.00pm on Friday 8th May 2020. You may want to help organise a street party in you area as well with local groups and organisations. Your support of these initiatives will be greatly appreciated.
The official charity for this event is SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, who also supports the Merchant Navy, so I would encourage everyone who gets involved to use their events to raise funds for this worthwhile charity.
Lord Griffiths of Bury Port
Brigade President, The Boys’ Brigade
I was born during the Second World War. My father was Chief Petty Officer on HMS York and was part of the crew that took Winston Churchill across the Atlantic in December 1941. This was shortly after Pearl Harbour; the Prime Minister’s mission was to meet President Roosevelt to discuss the entry of the United States of America into the war. Like millions of others, I have very lively personal memories of those who served in that war. Among them, of course, are untold numbers of The Boys’ Brigade members whose courage and service made such a valuable contribution to the struggle. Many made the supreme sacrifice. Four were honoured with the Victoria Cross. Behind them stood those who fought without coming to public notice but whose Companies and Battalions prayed for them and supported their families in the darkest of times. Memories indeed.
I have a ten-year-old grandson. He too is imbued with a knowledge of the Second World War – it’s so important to shape in him an awareness of the need to continue the struggle of his great grandparents to build a world where tyranny has no place, where all people are respected and given their proper dignity, where peace with justice reigns supreme. The Boys’ Brigade is supremely well fitted to open the minds and touch the hearts of young people as they face this challenge.
It is my fervent hope that across the United Kingdom and Ireland, members of The Boys’ Brigade will give their full support to the commemoration of VE day. I intend to be alongside them in the celebrations.
The Reverend Brian Anderson
President of the Irish Council of Churches and Co-Chair of the Irish Inter-Church Meeting
“VE day, across Europe, was a moment of hope and aspiration. As the continent emerged from the horrors of war, it would take hard work, courageous leadership and a commitment to change to convert those aspirations into reality.
Relationships had to be rebuilt with a focus on the common good and our interdependence on one another. As we mark the 75th anniversary of this transformative moment, take part in the various VE Day 75 events over this special weekend, we remember and pay ’tribute’ to those who paid a heavy price for the gifts of peace we can all enjoy today.
We cannot afford to be complacent about the hard-won achievements of the post-war renewal of European societies. Today there are still forces that seek to undermine relationships and our sense of community and solidarity. Tragically, there are still people being displaced by war and violence across the world. On this anniversary let us give thanks for the gift of peace and commit ourselves to ending the scourge of war, and responding with compassion to the needs of its victims.”
Chair of National Association of Civic Officers
Local Authority Civic heads are at the heart of local communities and are often the focus of commemorations. It is fitting, therefore, that the National Association of Civic Officers should endorse ‘The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War II’ at 3pm on 8th May 2020 as part of VE Day 75, and encourage all Civic Heads throughout the UK to participate in this important event.
Chief Executive, Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT
“We are delighted to be the first NHS trust in the UK to sign up to be part of VE Day 75 – 8th May 2020, to commemorate our nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff who went to war from this hospital to work alongside thousands of others to attend the sick and wounded. The reality of gunshot wounds, shrapnel injuries, disease and infection as well as the psychological traumas experienced by the soldiers must have been all encompassing. Added to this, the medical teams would have been working in makeshift hospital tents and would have had to perform and assist in surgery as well as care for both the recuperating and the dying side by side.
Can I urge other NHS Trusts across the country to get involved in VE Day 75, especially in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW ii’ at 3pm on 8th May 2020, involving staff and patients, remembering and celebrating the contribution our staff made at home and abroad in securing the peace we all enjoy today.”
Principal of Great Yarmouth Charter Academy
VE Day is a poignant reminder of the darkness of war; the trenches and gunfire being an indelible part of our collective national memory.
We must not erase it from our young peoples minds by ignoring the anniversary of this victory but rather commemorate it, salute and pay tribute to the memory of those who died and vow to strive always for peace.
Pupils and teachers of the Charter Academy, Great Yarmouth, will remember this day by assembling together and raising a toast to the Nation’s Heroes of WW II at 3pm on 8th May 2020 as part of VE Day 75, to all who gave their lives for our freedom.
I sincerely hope that many schools across the world will join us in honoring the fallen of WWII and the great victory they achieved.
Principal, Cliff Park Ormiston Academy
I am proud that Cliff Park Ormiston Academy is taking part in celebrating the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. These commemorations are such an important way to celebrate and commemorate the heroes of World War II and thank all of those who gave so much for peace.
Our students have really enjoyed getting involved in the planning of the event, working hard to produce a certificate that will be awarded to other schools and organisations who will be making their own tributes on 8th May 2020 at 3pm.
Great Yarmouth was a significant front-line town of the war, suffering heavy bombing from German fighters on their way home. I am honoured that our school will become a central focal point for the celebrations and present the town with the opportunity to reflect upon a milestone in our local and national history.
Having been a History teacher for more than 20 years with a specialist subject area of the Modern World, I know just how important it is to learn from the lessons of the past. I come from a family with strong military links and want students at my school, and my own young twin girls, to keep VE day in their minds and take the time for remembrance and commemoration.
I encourage all other schools and academies throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man to take part in VE Day 75 on the 8th May 2020.
41Club Great Britain & Ireland President Elect 2020/21
“Next year 41Club Great Britain & Ireland, a member of The Round Table Family of Clubs, celebrates 75years in the community.
I am delighted, along with our members to support the VE Day 75 Celebrations across GB&I in conjunction within our diamond year. Our members past and present have served these communities through difficult times such as WW2, most importantly supporting communities coming together worldwide in the days that followed. We estimate over 7000 members served home and abroad through such times, along with families who supported the communities they lived in on the home-front.
We aim to once again show our support for those that gave so much to build a better future for all and recognise the value of building such strong community values that today are pivotal in a very diverse society. We are calling on all our members to support the VE Day 75 Celebrations by holding events all over the country and worldwide during the Bank Holiday Weekend of the 8th – 10th May 2020, especially the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2 taking place at 3pm on the 8th May.”
Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “The constabulary is glad to take part in this initiative that recognises those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second World War.
The Nations Toast is a great way to show our support on the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. It gives us the opportunity to reflect back and to celebrate the formal acceptance by the allies of World War 2 of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces in 1945.
Such a tribute is a powerful way to remember those individuals who undertook so much during the dark days of war as well as those who stayed at home and faced other pressures through very difficult times.
Both officers and staff at the constabulary will be invited to stop what they are doing at 3pm on Friday 8 May 2020 in order to join the nation in their toast to the heroes of World War 2.
We would also encourage emergency services over the county to join us in our celebrations and raise a glass of refreshment at 3pm.”
Suffolk Constabulary will be supporting the 75th anniversary of VE Day – 8th May 2020, to pay tribute to all who served, sacrificed and changed our world.
President of Rotary International of Great Britain and Ireland
Rotary members played a tremendous role in both world wars.
It is an honour to take part in VE Day 75 to show our recognition for those in our communities who went overseas and for the families and friends who were left behind, whilst also appreciating the Women’s Land Army, the Home Guard and many others who played a part in supporting the country whilst their loved ones were away.
There are so many heroes in our midst, one who springs to mind is the late Sir Nicholas Winton (Maidenhead Rotary Club) who bravely and incredibly carefully, rescued nearly 700 children from the impending holocaust by getting them out of Czechoslovakia via specially commissioned trains and into England. Nobody knew about his efforts until the late 80’s when his wife found a scrapbook detailing the missions.
Everyone who bravely went to war is a hero and is deserving of respect and our eternally grateful thanks. I am delighted that Rotary is involved in this important event by its members taking part in the ‘Nations Toast to the Heroes of WW II’ at 3pm on the 8th May 2020, when we will mark the 75th Anniversary of end of the War in Eorope. I have no doubt that there will be many bagpipe players in our clubs too, who will also be playing Battle’s O’er and VE 75 Years at the same time of the toast.
Rotary is both an international organisation and a local community leader. We are people of action and we are improving the lives of others through honest hard work, for example, helping impoverished communities to rebuild themselves and, of course, driving our polio eradication campaign.
Contact your local club and discover the real Rotary for yourself. You will find a great group of people with all sorts of skills and enjoy nothing more than making the world a better place to live in whilst making great friends and networking along the way. Rotary is more than a club, it’s an adventure.
Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police
Chief Constable Bill Skelly said, “Lincolnshire Police is delighted to be taking part in The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II.
As a county, Lincolnshire has a very proud military history and is especially connected with the Royal Air Force, often being referred to as ‘Bomber County’. At 3.00 pm on Friday 08 May 2020 the Lincolnshire Police family will raise a toast to all of those men and women who served in WWII and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms today. I would like to encourage all the Nation’s police forces to join this very special toast.”
Susan Osborne MSc FRSA
Co-Founder War Horse Memorial CIC
Between 1939-45 million of animals gave service and sacrifice to help secure the freedom and democracy we all enjoy today. We unveiled Poppy, our national War Horse – named by the country’s Guides and Brownies – in June 2018 to remember the horses, mules and donkeys that played their part alongside our armed forces in WW1.
And we have reinstated the purple poppy as a symbol of recognition of animal victims of war, and a way of raising funds for equine, military and animal charities. We will be encouraging our army of kind-hearted supporters across the UK and the Commonwealth to take part in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II’ at 3pm local time in the country they are in on Friday 8th May 2020 – to pay tribute and remember alongside our brave men and women those four-legged friends who also went to war.
President of The Girls’ Brigade in Scotland
As President of The Girls’ Brigade in Scotland I am delighted that our organisation will be involved in the commemoration of VE Day and we will be encouraging all girls and leaders to be involved in the celebrations within their local communities.
Last year we celebrated our 125th anniversary so many of our members have been involved in both wars but particularly the Second World War and we recognise the service given by them and their families. Service is at the heart of Girls’ Brigade and we work within Churches and communities across Scotland to promote a just and equal society where peace may be prevail now and in the years ahead.
I look forward to being part of the VE Day commemoration along with our members.