Southampton City Council announces plans to encourage VE Day 75 Remembrance and Stay at Home Parties

Southampton City Council has announced the alternative initiatives taking place in Southampton to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe)

VE DayThe council will be encouraging and supporting Stay at Home Parties and filming a wreath laying service at the Cenotaph with only the Right Worshipful Mayor of Southampton in attendance.

This announcement follows the decision in March to cancel Southampton VE Day events due to Government guidelines on social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Friday 8 May 2020 will mark 75 years since the end of hostility in Europe during the Second World War. Southampton, as the home of The Spitfire and a key staging point for the invasion of Europe, played a pivotal role in bringing about VE Day. It was also heavily targeted by the Luftwaffe in bombing raids that took a devastating toll on the city and its residents. We will be remembering the sacrifices that finally brought peace to Europe in 1945 in a way that ensures important social distancing guidelines are adhered to but also allows people to mark this important occasion at home.

Online Remembrance Ceremony

Councillor Peter Baillie, The Right Worshipful Mayor of Southampton, will be laying a wreath and offering some words of reflection at the Cenotaph. This will be filmed in advance and premiered on the council’s Facebook and YouTube channels for residents to join in at home.

The Mayor will also be taking part in the VE Day 75 official ‘Nations Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ and raising a glass to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedoms we have today. We also encourage residents to join the Mayor at 3pm on Friday 8 May 2020 in standing up at home and raising a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertaking the following toast – “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”

VE Day Stay at Home Parties

Residents are asked to stay at home and put on a red, white and blue themed tea party or picnic in their lounge, on their balcony or in their garden with the members of their household.

Don’t forget to check in with your neighbours and other family members who might be alone on Friday 8 May - seeing if they're able to dial in to your street party is just one way you can keep in touch while socially distancing.

Share your photos and videos of your Stay Home Parties using the hashtag #VEday75Soton and we'll share on our social media channels.

BBC Make a Difference Great British Bunting

We are encouraging local households and businesses to make your own special VE Day 75 ‘Great British Bunting’ to display in your window or hang up at your VE Day Stay at Home party. The instructions and template is available to download on the BBC Great British Bunting page.

You can decorate your bunting with pictures of whatever inspires you, whether it’s those who fought on the frontline or worked hard on the Homefront, or whether it’s a celebration of enduring peace or your own personal hero.

Keep your eyes peeled on our social media channels as the Cultural Services’ Museum Learning team will be showing you how to create your very own VE Day bunting at home.
Hang your bunting with pride over the weekend of Friday 8 May - Sunday 10 May and make sure you share your pictures with us and on social media using the hashtags #GreatBritishBunting, #cultureinquarantine and #VEDay75Soton, so we can share them with our social media followers.

Southampton VE Day Stories

We would like Southampton residents to share their photos and family stories of World War 2 and VE Day in Southampton. Photos and stories will be shared on our social media channels weekend of 8 May. Please email stories and images to communications@southampton.gov.uk

Southampton Museums

Discover amazing local history at @SeaCityMuseum and @SouthamptonStories on Twitter and Facebook.

SeaCity Museum will be sharing some fascinating items and a story from the Southampton Stories exhibition about VE Day celebrations in the city in 1945.

Tudor House Museum and Garden will be sharing some short videos on life during WW2 and a fun, family friendly activity pack to keep kids learning at home.

Southampton Libraries

Follow the Southampton City Libraries Facebook page for activities suitable for all ages.

For everyone interested in local history and heritage, Southampton Libraries will be sharing hidden gems from its Maritime and special collections on wartime life in Southampton and past VE day celebrations with #ThrowbackThursday and #MartimeMonday.

Join our staff and friends who will be sharing recommendations and reviews of e-books and poetry available describing wartime life and VE day.

Our children’s team will be making sure even the youngest family members can join in with #StickingTogether, our VE Day craft ideas.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture, said: "Southampton played an invaluable role in both World Wars, from being a strategic port to becoming the home of the Spitfire; the contribution of our city should always be remembered and honoured. This anniversary is more pertinent than ever to us currently; at a time when we are facing another enemy, Southampton is united, working hard together with front line NHS staff and key workers as our modern-day heroes. So, while it is disappointing that we cannot commemorate and come together for our 1940's VE Day themed event as planned, we hope that Southampton communities still unite to mark this important historic occasion from their homes, remember sacrifices made for our future, and show true Southampton spirit

Archie Parsons, from Southampton Royal British Legion, said: “It is very sad that we are unable to hold any mass public 75th anniversary VE Day events but we can still remember all those who sacrificed their lives for the freedom we enjoy today. Please celebrate this very special day in your own way at home and remember all those brave men and women who never returned. There will be opportunities to hold events in the future, but it is more important at this time to stay at home and respect those who are working to keep us safe.”

For more information, go to Visit Southampton

Find out what other stay at home VE Day activities are taking place across the south coast.