North Yorkshire County Council encourages residents to reflect on community spirit on VE Day anniversary

On the 75th anniversary of VE Day tomorrow, North Yorkshire residents are being encouraged to reflect on the togetherness and community spirit they share with those who celebrated the end of World War Two in Europe in 1945.

By Corinne Macdonald
Thursday, 7th May 2020, 9:56 am
Updated Thursday, 7th May 2020, 1:54 pm

The chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Jim Clark, has been at the forefront of events to mark the anniversary in the county and while these are now on hold, he believes the messages behind the celebrations remain as relevant as ever.

While people can’t gather because of Covid-19 restrictions, County Council services are helping people to mark the day, including creating a virtual children’s choir, staging digital library activities and investigating World War Two at home with the County Record Office.

Cllr Clark said: “This anniversary was never just about looking back at something that happened 75 years ago, and the situation in which we find ourselves today makes that even more pertinent.

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An open-air service to commemorate Victory in Europe Day in 1945 in Scarborough.

“Then, as now, it is about community spirit. The theme of Holocaust Day this year was Stand Together. While we can’t do that physically, we can in spirit. We can stand together in remembrance and thanksgiving, against hatred and prejudice and for building stronger communities.

“I encourage people in towns and villages across North Yorkshire to take time to reflect and to remember in their own way.”

Several events across the county that had been planned for the anniversary celebration will be rearranged including a concert organised by the council's music service involving more than 400 school children.

Instead, children have been invited to record themselves singing to two wartime Vera Lynn songs, We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover which will be edited into a video to be posted on the County Council’s social media channels over the coming weekend.

A view of the Market Place, Pickering, during the Second World War.

The County Record office has compiles an online collection recalling VE Day and wartime on the home front in North Yorkshire which can be viewed here.

Cllr Clark will give a reading at a virtual Ripon Cathedral VE Day service at 11am on May 8 which can be accessed here.

The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, will lead the service. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu and the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mrs Jo Ropner, will speak.

Dishforth Military Wives Choir and the Black Dyke Band will also take part.

“VE Day was a time of hope for the future and this anniversary should be the same,” said Cllr Clark. “I am very much looking forward and want to concentrate on young people.

“A lot of work has been done by and for young people in terms of organising concerts and street parties and these efforts will not be wasted. We will go ahead with these things after we get through this pandemic.

“This may be a time for young people to reflect on and record their experiences of living through this pandemic. While it is not a war, it is a different situation and requires the same spirit of fortitude and community.”

Across the country, the Royal British Legion is inviting people to join a two-minute silence for reflection and remembrance at 11am on May 8 to honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War generation and reflect on the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on many lives across the world.

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