Northampton is set to mark VE Day 2020 in a unique way this year, with a virtual programme of events taking place on the 8 May, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of war in Europe.
The celebrations, coordinated by Northampton Borough Council, will be streamed throughout the day, and can be viewed on the Mayor of Northampton’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MayorOfNorthampton
An action-packed schedule, beginning with an 11am sermon delivered by Father Oliver Coss, will be followed by an extraordinary remote performance from the All Saints’ Choir.
Speeches, readings and poems will also be shared throughout the afternoon, by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Northampton, the Lord Lieutenant, the Chairman of the Northamptonshire Royal British Legion and the Chairman of Northamptonshire Reserve Forces and Cadets Association.
The day’s pre-planned proceedings will be honoured in a virtual manner; with a bugler playing the ‘Last Post’ just before 3pm, followed by the Northamptonshire Pipe Band, and a national ‘Toast to the Heroes of the Second World War’, led by Lord-Lieutenant James Saunders Watson at 3pm.
Councillor Nazim Choudary, Mayor of Northampton, said: “I would like to thank everyone involved for dedicating their time to help us mark VE Day 2020 in such unprecedented circumstances, especially as this year’s celebrations mark such a significant anniversary.
“We hope that people will take this opportunity to celebrate at home and honour our war veterans, those who gave their lives for peace in Europe, and the many military personnel still out on the front line today.
“This day also gives us all another opportunity to acknowledge the sacrifices being made by all key workers across the country.”
Father Oliver Coss, Rector of All Saints’ Church, said: “VE Day 2020 will be a commemoration like no other, and with this terrible pandemic so prominent in our minds, this is a chance to remember the past heroes of the Second World War and the joy our nation felt as the hostilities ceased.
“We draw strength and resolve from these past heroes, and I hope that when the time comes for us to declare our own victory over this present crisis, we will be able to show equal gratitude for our modern-day heroes who are fighting to keep our nation together.”
Celebrations will continue into the evening, with the town’s Looking Glass Theatre Company, who delivered last year’s sold-out Northampton Mystery Tours, performing a one-off, interactive VE Day Virtual Mystery Tour at 6.30pm.
A Town Crier will call for peace around the world at 6:55pm, then the bells of All Saints’ church will ring at 7pm, followed by a Jive Zoom Party, performed by the Step by Step Dance School at 8pm.
Northampton’s iconic National Lift Tower will be illuminated to the sounds of Vera Lynn’s ‘We Will Meet Again’ at 9pm, bringing the day to a grand finale.