75th anniversary VE Day

This Friday marks the 75th anniversary of VE day and people across Salford are determined to join in the country’s tributes – even if it means staying at home.

To honour the service and sacrifice of the Second World War, at 11am on Friday 8th May, it is hoped that people from all generations and communities will come together to mark a national moment of remembrance and pause for a two minute silence.

Although street parties and parades across the UK have been cancelled due to Covid-19, many events are taking place on the day.

These include:

The crew of the Historic Boat Brage1/ibeke will be announcing the start and finish of the war aboard the boat in the Plank Lane area in Leigh, before they leave for their loop trip to Lymm via the Bridgewater Canal through Worsley, Salford.

This boat was a Norwegian fishing boat which was built in 1937 and was one of the boats which helped save 338,000 troops from the Dunkirk beaches.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy, the National Army Museum and the Royal Air Force Museum are joining forces to host a free online festival.

The Royal British Legion are having a VE Day 75 live stream on their Facebook page at 11:15 and you can join BBC One at 9pm for a UK-wide rendition of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll meet again’.

For the children Colouring Heroes on Facebook have produced templates for them to colour:

Find them all here.

Residents across Salford are already planning social distancing street parties with a difference. Campbell Road in Swinton is one of these with people following social distancing guidelines by staying in their gardens, decorating houses with bunting and playing music.

And it looks like the weather is going to be on side, with forecasters predicting a dry day.

Image Credit: Lee Bishop

There are many Salfordians who served during the Second World War and VE Day gives everyone the opportunity to thank them.

Some of these are the following, all of which are members of Royal Naval Association Pendleton Branch:

Joe Thomas, 94, has received the Légion d’honneur for his part in the liberation of France serving in the Royal Navy.

75th anniversary VE Day
Joe Thomas, Image Credit: Royal Naval Association Pendleton Branch

Bob Hayfield, 96, also received the Légion d’honneur for his part in the liberation of France serving in the Royal Navy.

Mr Hayfield talked to Salford Now about his experience, even telling a funny story about having to make 3,000 doughnuts for a party being thrown when he got back to the base.

You can listen to that here:

Derrick Corfield, 93, served in the Merchant Navy during the Battle of Atlantic on the Troop Ship Orion.

Derrick Corfield, Image Credit: Royal Naval Association Pendleton Branch

Kevin Heakin, former Commanding Officer of HMS Salford and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, said what VE Day meant to him.

Kevin Heakin, Image Credit: Royal Naval Association Pendleton Branch

Mr Heakin said: “I was a one-year-old when WW2 ended. My father was two when WW1 ended.

“Two babies stepping forth into a post war world.

“The peace of 1918 was to set a seal upon “peace in our time” but in my father’s case that was not to be so.

“I believe that around 80 million people died in WW2. What a horrific number that was.”

“On VE Day 2020 I can say that, unlike my father could say in 1918, I have found peace in my time.

“I give thanks to those millions of casualties who made my peace possible.”

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