VE75 Day: Atherstone recreates ‘spirit of 1945’ while the world still at war with a new enemy

  Posted: 09.05.20 at 11:31 by Nick Hudson

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ATHERSTONE managed to recreate the spirit of Britain at the end of World War Two without breaking lockdown restrictions brought in to fight another deadly enemy.

The Victory in Europe 75th anniversary was meant to be a day like no other, a time for people getting together to mark an historic moment in our island history.

At least the weather was perfect – glorious sunshine.

But the coronavirus pandemic had cast a long shadow with many of the planned events for the joyous occasion shelved.

However, the townsfolk did their very best to still make it a special one.

Tea for two in Ambien Road: Enjoying the sun

And it did not stop Atherstone and beyond throwing a party at home, with social distancing measures in place of course.

For most families it was a straight choice – back garden privacy or front garden community celebrations with a few tweaks to keep six feet apart.

Many chose the latter, adding fancy dress from the 1940s, Vera Lynn music, the genteel serving of afternoon teas – with perhaps the odd glass of lager or wine in evidence.

Certainly, a social distancing group turned the clock back a few weeks – sitting outside The Wheatsheaf in Long Street with a glass in hand.

Here are the first of a Nub News VE75 picture special, summing up the day.

Afternoon tea is served in Ambien Road: Those cakes look yummy

Ambien Road, off Coleshill Road, was typical of the neighbourly bon-homie throughout the town.

The residents got into the occasion, enjoying tea and cakes or bringing out old newspapers from World War Two to reminisce over an era many fortunately didn’t have to live through.

But coronavirus has brought communities together in a united fight against a silent killer.

Yesterday’s VE75 event began with a poignant two-minute silence led by the Prince of Wales at Balmoral and featured touching stories from the war as well as special performances, followed by extracts from Winston Churchill’s speech on May 8, 1945 announcing the war was over.

That 3pm broadcast was followed by a national toast to remember all who fought in WWII.

Family get-together: In Ambien Road

At 9pm, the Queen told the nation "never give up, never despair" in a poignant national address 75 years on from the end of the war in Europe.

In a pre-recorded message, the monarch remembered the sacrifices of the Second World War generation.

She said their lasting legacy "is that countries who were once sworn enemies are now friends, working side by side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all".

The televised broadcast from Windsor Castle's white drawing room capped a day of bank holiday sunshine, virtual celebrations, socially distant street gatherings, and stunning RAF flypasts as the Red Arrows flew over London and RAF Typhoons were seen above Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.

Afterwards, people were invited to open their doors and windows and take part in singalong of Forces' Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn's wartime anthem We'll Meet Again during the BBC's VE Day 75 show.

Nearly ready: An Ambien Road resident preparing the tea table

Despite swathes of events and swarming parades being cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown, Atherstone and the rest of the UK found ways to come together to pay tribute to those who served in the era-defining global conflict.

If you have a VE Day story or some party pictures to show off, then mail them to [email protected] and we will get them onto the Atherstone Nub News site.

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