VE Day 75 – A shared moment of celebration across Ashford

Contributed by editor on Feb 20, 2020 - 02:30 PM


This year’s plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day include music and a photo exhibition, and Ashford Borough Council is asking for your help to show how it marked the day in 1945.

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VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, is celebrated on 8 May every year as the date that Nazi Germany surrendered in 1945. The 75th anniversary of VE Day will nationally be celebrated with a weekend of events from Friday 8 May to Sunday 10 May with 8 May having been declared a Bank Holiday (moved from Monday 4 May).

A small ‘Ashford in the Second World War’ photographic exhibition is being planned for the Memorial Gardens and the council is asking for any photos that could be featured, especially ones of VE Day celebrations from across the borough in 1945.

The council also to know if you or your family have any VE Day stories or memories that you would be willing to share. All photographs would be acknowledged, and precious originals would be scanned and returned straight away.

Events in Ashford begin on Thursday 7 May when the town will be hosting the International Rugby Flame of Remembrance VE75 Lanterns Tours with a short service in Memorial Gardens at 11am. Two Flames of Remembrance lanterns are being carried from Twickenham to Dover Castle and then on to France and will be passing through on their journey [1]

On VE day itself, Friday 8 May, there will be World War Two themed music at the bandstand from 12 noon to 3pm featuring the Dulcettes, the Invicta Ukulele Band and the Folkestone Community Swing Band.

The Ashford Borough Museum will be holding themed VE Day activities for the children and have also provided the World War Two artefacts for a town centre victory trail that will be running in the week leading up to and over the VE Day weekend.

An afternoon concert, attended by the Mayor of Ashford and featuring the Ashford Concert Band and the Kent Wing Air Cadet band will take place in Memorial Gardens. It will close with the Last Post and the Mayor reading the specially written VE Day ‘Cry For Peace’.

At 3pm pubs will be encouraging their customers to join the ‘Nation’s Toast’ to the heroes of World War Two and at 7pm church bells will be ringing out across the borough.

Residents are being encouraged to hold street parties on Saturday 9 May. Please contact the officer below if you wish to publicise your own local event on the Council’s website. Anyone wanting to hold a party in their street or local area can find out more information such as advice about road closures at [2] . Any application for a road closure needs to be made to Kent County Council by Friday 20 March.

On Sunday 10 May there will be church services across the borough and the Mayor of Ashford will be attending the VE75 service at St Mary’s the Virgin in Ashford at 10am. All residents are welcome to attend.

Cllr Peter Feacey, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, said: “This is a nationally important anniversary that we will be marking in Ashford with our own celebrations. I hope residents will join in with the activities we have planned, and arrange to host their own street parties in the spirit of 1945.”

Please contact David Robinson in Cultural Services on [3]  or 01233 330291 if you have any photographs that would be suitable for the exhibition or any VE Day 1945 stories or memories to share. Visit [4]  to find out more about the Ashford plans for VE Day, how to send us your photos for the exhibition including all the information you need for planning a street party.

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