Portsmouth residents are being invited to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day – the day that saw the end of war in Europe in 1945 – from their homes.
To commemorate this unforgettable moment from the nation’s history, Portsmouth City Council is organising a series of activities that people can take part in without leaving the house – or even the sofa.
This will allow people to mark the occasion while still following national rules on social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
People will be able to hear first-hand accounts of VE Day in 1945 voiced by local acting talents from Victoryland Theatre School, and can recreate families listening around the wireless to Winston Churchill’s famous speech marking the end of war on the continent.
The day will culminate in a spectacular light show from 9.30pm called From Darkness to Light, which represents the end of the blackout, a moment that marked the emergence of peace from the darkness of war. Residents will be invited to share their photos and videos of the lights online, and can even shine their own lights out of their windows as well.
Cllr Steve Pitt, Deputy Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “We know that this is a difficult time for many people in Portsmouth and across the globe. These celebrations are a world away from what we had planned, but we felt it was really important to mark the anniversary of this momentous day.
“We’re living through challenging times. Community is more important than ever. The tide of good will and volunteering we’ve seen in Portsmouth over the last weeks and months shows that the extraordinary Portsmouth spirit is alive and well. I hope this day can be a moment of shared celebration – and a reminder that, even in these dark days, we know that lighter times will return again.”
While the council hopes people will find ways of celebrating together online, they are keen to stress the importance of continuing to follow social distancing guidelines.
Helen Atkinson, the council’s Interim Director of Public Health said: “All the activities we’re suggesting can be done from the comfort of your own sofa, but you can of course connect with loved ones near and far through technology as well.
“This is in no way encouragement for people to gather together outside of their homes, or invite other people into their households. It is absolutely essential that people continue to abide by the Government’s instructions to stay at home to reduce the spread of coronavirus.”
People can find information about the activities planned at www.portsmouth.gov.uk/VE75
These events are being delivered with the support of Wave 105 FM.