UPDATES ON COMMEMORATIVE ACTIVITIES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 VIRUS
Please find here a link to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport webpage, which includes a guide for getting involved, whilst observing social distancing. There is also a toolkit with downloadable resources for everything from social media logos to printable bunting. Hopefully this will help with some of your preparations, with less than three weeks to go before VJ75.
VE Day commemorations to change to protect veterans
In line with the latest expert medical and scientific advice, VE Day 75 events will be scaled back
VE Day 75
- Veterans’ procession down the Mall will no longer take place
- Culture Secretary will unveil new plans shortly to ensure the public can give thanks to the Second World War generation
The national commemoration events to mark VE Day 75 will be scaled back due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus.
In line with the latest expert medical and scientific advice from Public Health England and guidance on mass gatherings, the UK Government has announced plans to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe will be changed.
As part of the new plans the veterans’ procession down the Mall and the events in St James’s Park will no longer go ahead.
This is in order to protect the health and wellbeing of the Second World War generation and members of the public.
The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations are working on new plans to ensure the public can still thank the Second World War generation on VE Day in May and provide the fitting tribute they deserve.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
It is with a very heavy heart that we have to scale back our VE Day commemorations. Veterans always have and will be at the centre of our plans and our key priority right now is to protect their health and wellbeing.
In these unprecedented circumstances I hope that the public will understand why we have made this difficult decision and I hope they will join us in saying thank you to the generation who gave so much on May 8th. We will ensure that we mark this important event and will provide an update on plans shortly.
The Government wants to ensure that the British public have the opportunity to thank the Second World War generation. The revised plans on how the nation can mark the occasion will be made public in due course. Events in Scotland to mark 75 years since VE Day on 8 May, which included a parade and concert in Edinburgh, are also being rescheduled, owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
Scottish Government Veterans Minister Graeme Dey said:
I regret that we are having to reschedule these events, a decision which has been taken in line with official advice on large gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak.
Communities and, most importantly, veterans will have the opportunity to join events at a later date to pay tribute to the sacrifices of those from the Allied and Commonwealth nations. We will provide details of these in due course.
In Wales, postponed events include a drumhead service and military parade in Cardiff Bay and a National Service of Thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral.
Welsh Government Minister for Housing and Local Government Julie James said:
It is with regret that events to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day in Wales have had to be postponed due to the outbreak of coronavirus in Wales. The decision is in line with the current public health guidance on mass gatherings and the wellbeing of veterans and the public. The Welsh Government will mark the occasion in a way that is appropriate to the current circumstances. The Government is also continuing to plan to mark VJ Day 75 on 15 August, to commemorate Victory Over Japan and the end of the Second World War. These plans will take into account the public health guidance in place at the time.
RE: VE DAY 75 CANCELLATION ADVICE
I am afraid that the terrible Coronavirus emergency and consequent Government guidance means that we must advise participants to cancel or postpone the majority of the VE Day 75 community celebrations due to take place on the bank holiday weekend of 8th - 10th May. It is right and proper that people should be kept safe and healthy.
My sincere thanks to everyone who registered their events and were looking forward to celebrating VE Day 75. I know how disappointed you will be that these cannot now go ahead as planned. However, we are still encouraging solo pipers and town criers to continue to mark the occasion from a safe and suitable location.
I am hoping that all the events you have carefully planned can be moved to the weekend of 15th - 16th August when we will be able to celebrate VE Day and VJ Day, both momentous points in our history. I am in ongoing communication with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding this and hope to be able to give you more news in the coming days.
With my very best wishes,