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VE Day 75: Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal urges households to ‘celebrate’ war heroes ‘in style’

PUBLISHED: 12:30 08 May 2020

Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal speaking at the Memorial Stone in Valentines Park to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Picture: Ken Mears

Redbridge Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal speaking at the Memorial Stone in Valentines Park to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Picture: Ken Mears

Photography by Ken Mears

This Friday marks 75 years since the end of the Second World War.

So much has changed over the intervening years, but we remain grateful for the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women in the name of freedom and peace.

As a borough, we’re very proud to have longstanding historical ties with our armed forces.

Due to current circumstances, unfortunately we’re not able to celebrate this historic occasion in the manner that we’re accustomed to: street parties with neighbours, singing wartime songs, and spending time with family and friends.

Britain is in a league of its own when it comes to celebrating our heroes, it is occasions like this when we as a nation are at our very best.

However, we can still celebrate VE 75 in true style, albeit from the comfort and safety of our own homes.

Let’s use this Friday’s occasion as a reminder that we’ve faced severe adversity in the past and come out the other end – and we are stronger for it.

You only have to look at how the recent and remarkable fundraising activities of Colonel Tom Moore have captured the British public’s imagination and hearts. He is a true inspiration to us all.

Closer to home, we’ve got lots of activities and events planned so you can join in the celebrations safely from home. We’ll be sharing ideas on social media on how to host the perfect ‘stay at home’ 1945 themed street party - from baking the perfect Victoria sponge and making bunting, to joining the national sing-a-long to Dame Vera Lynn at 9pm on Friday.

To reflect on the enormous sacrifice, courage, and determination of people from all walks of life who saw us through this dark and terrifying period, Redbridge Museum has also produced a film about the Second World War in Redbridge.

This will feature information about evacuation, rationing, the home front, the war effort, air raid damage, and victory celebrations.

I hope you all enjoy Friday’s celebrations. And let’s take time to remember those who risked their lives to protect our freedom and pay our respects to our Armed Forces community, past and present, by sharing two minutes silence on our doorsteps at 11am.

Take care, stay home, and look out for your neighbours.


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