VE Day 75th Anniversary

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VE Day or Victory in Europe Day, marked the end of fighting in Europe in World War Two. 

On 8 May 1945 at 3pm, Prime Minister Winston Churchill made an announcement on the radio that the war in Europe had come to an end, following Germany's surrender the day before.
Many people were extremely happy that the fighting had stopped and there were big celebrations and street parties with lots of people dressed in red, white and blue.

VE Day was also a moment of great sadness and reflection, as millions of people had lost their lives or loved ones in the conflict with many continuing to fight in other battles or still prisoners of war abroad. 

Even though VE Day marked victory for Europe over Germany, it did not mark the end of World War Two.

This special anniversary provides everyone with an opportunity to reflect on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of people from all walks of life who saw the nation through this dark and terrifying period.

The early May bank holiday has moved back by four days for the whole of the UK to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

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Southampton Remembers

Southampton played a unique role in the effort to defend the United Kingdom's freedom and the city recognises that many of Southampton's residents are proud of their city's struggle to defend their future.

Southampton City Council is working in partnership with local armed forces veterans, the Southampton Royal British Legion and other local organisations to organise events to remember the sacrifices that finally brought peace to Europe in 1945.

Video: Southampton City Council and Southampton Royal British Legion have come together to announce a host of events taking place in Southampton to mark 75 years since VE Day on Friday 8 May*.

* COVID-19 Important information

Further to the most recent Government guidelines regarding social distancing, an increasing number of events and activities are being cancelled or postponed. Due to the current situation, please check with individual venues and event organisers for updated information. 

Message from Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture.

" We recognise the importance and significance in the city of the 75th Anniversary of VE day but in light of the latest advice from Public Health England and guidance from the government on mass gatherings and social distancing we have made the decision to cancel our planned activities along with all other public gatherings organised by Southampton City Council. This is a challenging time for many event organisers in the city, some have postponed or cancelled while others are still considering their options and will make announcements in due course. Culture will play an important role in rebuilding communities and bringing people together once we have collectively come out of this period; for the time being however, it is important we all pull together and ensure all our communities are safe and supported".

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VE Day Commemorative Service 
*THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Fri 8 May 2.55pm - 3.30pm
The Cenotaph, Above Bar Street, Southampton

Everyone is welcome to attend the Southampton VE Day Commemorative Service to observe the national two minutes silence at 2.55pm followed by prayers and readings of reflection, led by the Right Reverend Debbie Sellin Bishop of Southampton.

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VE Day Southampton Street Party
*THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED

Fri 8 May 3.30pm - 8pm
Guildhall Square

Come along to Guildhall Square to enjoy YOUR CITY street party.
There will be live music and lots of dancing and of course bunting in red, white and blue galore. 

Tables and chairs will be set out in the Square replicating a traditional street party.
We need you to bring your family, friends and your street party snacks to come together to celebrate in 1940's style.
1940s style dress welcome but optional.
Free - everyone welcome with lots of activities for you to enjoy.

- Military vehicles and Heritage buses on display.
- Veteran associations and local organisations stalls and activities including the Southampton Royal British Legion and Southampton Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Club.
- See the Royal British Legion Woolston's Douglas Coffin Soldier. Dougie is made materials donated over the course of a year and has over 590 names of soldiers on him already. You can sponsor a name for any hero. 
- Vintage and antique stalls.
- Explore the Maritime Discovery Bus which has information and child friendly activities related to the American Wall in Western Esplanade, where American soldiers carved their names before sailing to France and beyond during WW2.
- Get involved with the make and take family activities including style and make peg dolls in WWII outfits, create your own evacuee luggage label, plant seeds and decorate plant pots with recycled paper in the spirit of ‘Make Do and Mend’. Plus, badge making and discover the morse code machine!
- Spend time with Mrs Cox who will tell stories and give helpful advice on rationing and beauty.
- Watch out for some great street theatre characters in the Square.
- Get on your feet and dance away to the amazing sounds on the VE Day Stage including singer Caryn Morant covering many different styles of music from 1940s to present day, the City of Southampton (Albion) Band and Swingworld bringing you the best big band sound.
- The Lindy Club will be giving demos to teach you how to strut your stuff in Lindy Hop Style.

If you would like to get involved with this event i.e. information stall or activity, contact events@southampton.gov.uk 

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VE Day activities at Tudor House and Garden  

Sat 9 May 10am-5pm (last admission 4.15pm)
Tudor House normal admission applies.
Pre-book for activities on tel 023 8083 4536 - Charges apply for some activities.
To commemorate VE day we will be offering a number of activities throughout the day, exploring life during the Second World War in Southampton.

WW2 Crazy Science (5-12yrs) 
10.30am-12.30pm / £8, includes entry to the museum / Pre-book.
Join “mad professor” Andy for an exploration of science by conducting your own experiments. Design an egg parachute, discover the WW2 invention that bombs bounced off and check out the science of gas mask filters!

WW2 Mini-talk and Objects (All ages) 
1pm-1.30pm or 4-4.30pm / FREE / (admission to the museum applies). Book on the day, limited spaces.
Find out more about life in Southampton during the Second World War with this short talk and object-handling session with a member of the museums team.

VE Day Anniversary WW2 Walking Tour (All ages)
2pm-3.30pm / Adults £6, Children £3 / Pre-book.
Family-friendly commemorative Second World War walking tour exploring the impact of the Blitz on Southampton and the events of 8th May 1945. The tour includes visits to the underground vaults used as air-raid shelters. Please bring a torch! Unfortunately this tour is not accessible for wheelchair users or people with mobility issues.

Find out more about VE Day activities at Tudor House >

Southampton Stories at SeaCity Museum
Open 7 days a week 10am - 5pm
Ticket entry
Don't forget to visit SeaCity Museum to see Southampton Stories exhibition which focuses on different aspects of the Southampton’s history and showcases the city’s rich and diverse maritime, local history, archaeology and archive collections. It features topics such as the docks, working life, sport and leisure and especially Southampton during wartime. On display will be ship models, maritime ephemera, historical costume, artworks, photographs and much more. Find out more > 

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VE Day 75 - A Hampshire Celebration
* THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED

Sat 9 May 7.30pm at the O2 Guildhall Southampton
Be part of this special VE Day Celebration event in Southampton.
With proceeds to the Royal British Legion the event is brought to you by the same team that orchestrated the Hampshire Festival of Remembrance at Southampton's Mayflower Theatre to mark the 100th anniversary since the end of World War One!
The concert will be performed by a cast of volunteer singers and sensational musicians conducted by Alex Pope. Vocalists include Barbara Howells, Jeremy Edwards and Mehreen Shah, who will all perform repertoire reminiscent of wartime and the 1940s, plus a large choir featuring members of Southampton Choral Society and a children’s choir featuring young people from across Hampshire.
Renowned Chelsea Pensioners & Britain's Got Talent 2019 winner Colin Thackery will perform as the Special Guest.

Tickets go on sale on Wednesday 4 March for O2 Priority Customers and on Friday 6 March for general public sale.
O2 Guildhall Southampton website > 
VE Day 75 - A Hampshire Celebration Facebook page >

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More VE Day events in Southampton 

There are many other activities taking place in Southampton and the surrounding area commemorating and celebrating the 75 Anniversary of VE Day.

These range from music and entertainment, afternoon tea, exhibitions and guided walks.

VE Day Celebration lunch
Sat 2 May 11.30am - 2.30pm £10 (if you require transport £8 donation)
Southampton Sight, Bassett Avenue
Southampton Sight are celebrating VE Day with a hog roast lunch and entertainment from Amanda Parsons singing the old tunes.
Find out more >

Party in the Street
Thurs 7 May 5pm
Oxford Street
To celebrate, the Oxford Street Traders are throwing a party! Join them from 5pm onwards for live music and entertainment throughout the street. Find out more >

The VE Day Commemorative Walk
Fri 8 May 10am or 2pm
Starts from Guildhall Square £5.00 + £0.50 Booking fee
To commemorate VE Day the Southampton Tourist Guides Association have put together a walk for you to discover the effects of World War 2 on our town. Come and join one of our tours to find out how the town coped and what life was really like for the people of Southampton during the Second World War.
Book your place for 10am >
 
Book your place for 2pm > 

Street Party Event
Fri 8 May
St James' Park, Shirley
An afternoon community 'Street Party' event - open to everyone. A number of 'special guests' from the WW2 generation will also be invited for afternoon tea and there will be entertainment/ activities in the park for all to enjoy. Organised by Shirley Local History Group, in partnership with the Friends of St. James' Park. More details soon.

VE Day 75 Party Weekend
Fri 8 May from 12noon
The Hinkler, SO19 6DF
The Hinkler are hosting a weekend of activities including BBQ, live music, disco with 1940s themed dress. Find out more > 

Exhibition and Heritage Walks
Sat 9 May
Shirley Parish Hall
A chance to see a special exhibition in Shirley Parish Hall which was in fact a former 'hidden' Spitfire factory.  Plus participate in Heritage Walks of the local area which will share memories and stories from local people. Organised by the Shirley Local History Group, in partnership with the Friends of St. James' Park. More details soon.

VE Day Celebration Vintage Tea 
Sat 9 May 3.30pm-6.30pm  £9 per head. Families welcome, children under 12 years free.
Shirley Warren Action Centre, 107-117 Warren Crescent, Southampton SO16 6AY
A traditional afternoon tea fundraising for Creative Options Mental Health Charity.
Sandwiches, mini-pastries, home made cakes and scones. Gluten free and vegan option available.
Music from the era and entertainment. Handcrafted cake stands for sale. For further information and to book a place tel 023 80216009 or email  creativeoptions.weebly@gmail.com or visit the Creative Options website >


VE Day events in the Southampton area

1940’s Vintage Tea Party
Fri 8 May 1.30pm £55 per person
The Montagu Arms Hotel. Beaulieu.
2020 marks 75 years since millions of people took to the streets to celebrate victory in Europe and we'll be toasting the heroes of World War II with a 1940's tea party. Andrea Kelso of the famous 'Spitfire Sisters' will be teaming up with fellow vocalist Emma Palk to perform some of the most iconic songs of the era.
Step back in time and arrive to a chilled glass of champagne before enjoying a course by course tasting journey starting with delectable finger sandwiches, sweets and cakes followed by freshly baked scones with indulgent clotted cream and home-made jam. Dress to impress with your best vintage suit jackets and tea dresses. Book a place >

VE 75 Year Celebratory Family Fun Day
Fri 8 May 11am - 5pm
Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley
Enjoy the special themed activities for all the family. theatre performances from Southampton University Players, vintage stalls, children’s games and activities,1940s music, swing/dance workshops, St. Andrew’s Pipe Band marking the announcement of the end of the war, face painting and much more. Find out more > 

LEE VE Day Community Celebration
Fri 8 - Sun 10 May, Lee on Solent
A special community festival sharing stories to create a living legacy, both today and for future generations. Find out more >

Celebration of VE Day
Fri 8 May
Empire Hall, Totton 12noon - 5pm
Join the Totton and Eling Royal British Legion Branch for an all day event of music, stalls, entertainers, songs and 1940s themed evening event. Find out more > 

VE Day 75 Help For Heroes Charity Event
Fri 8 May from 12noon
Langley Tavern Pub, Blackfield SO45
the day will include live bands, BBQ, raffle, DJ, face painting and stalls. Find out more > 

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O2 Guildhall to be lit up

Between 4 and 10 May, see the front of O2 Guildhall illuminated red, white and blue.

Nation's Toast
Friday 8 May 3pm

In association with VE Day 75 English Heritage and the British Beer and Pub Association and its members, thousands of pubs and historic sites across the United Kingdom, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man will be asking their customers to raise a glass at 3pm and take part in The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of the Second World War. It will be a chance for customers to remember the sacrifice of those who died or were wounded.

Ringing Out for Peace
Friday 8 May 7pm
In association with the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers, bells in cathedrals, churches are invited to ring out at 7pm in a collective celebration of peace. The sound of bells is deeply rooted in British culture, providing the soundtrack to historic moments – calling us to pray, to work, to arms, to celebrate and, in times of crisis, to come together. Church bells will be rung throughout our nation and around the world in celebration of the peace and friendships we share today.

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Street Parties

Want to organise a VE Day themed street party? 

If your street is not on a main road or busy bus route, you can arrange to close your road to hold a street party for your neighbourhood.

This is a great way to engage with your neighbours, have fun and create a community feeling in your street.
To get your road closure order for free, you should send your completed application at least six weeks before the first day of the month of your street closure (deadline for street party applications taking place in May is 20 March). Otherwise a road closure notice will cost £112.
Find out how to organise a street party >

Organising a VE Day themed event?

If you are organising a VE Day themed event, please let us know so we can assist in promoting it for you alongside all the Southampton VE Day events and activities. Email events@southampton.gov.uk

Free events listing on the Visit Southampton website

Don't forget to add your event to the free events listing on this website.
Find out how to submit your event >

Need Funding?

Southampton City Council has several funding channels to assist event organisers and community groups. 

Special grant for community VE and VJ Day events: Southampton City Council has allocated a fund to voluntary organisations who want to hold community events for the VE or VJ Day 75th Anniversary.
Grants are available for up to £500 per event held.
The closing date for applications is Monday 9th March 2020 at 10am and you will be notified by mid April
Click on the links below for the application form and guidance, if you have any questions please get in touch l.mackney@southamptonvs.org.uk
Find out more and apply >
 

Events and Festivals Grant: Grants are available to support event organisers to hold events across the city of Southampton. The grants support event organisers to hold events and festivals across the city of Southampton. Grants of between £250 and £10,000 are available to support up to 75% of the costs of events and festivals that are accessible to the general public. Find out more >

Celebrations Grant: This grant offers up to £500 as a contribution towards the cost of community events. Grants are available for small, volunteer led community groups. Find out more >

Community Chest: Community Chest is the council's small grant scheme. Grants of between £100 and £2,500 are available for small, volunteer led community groups. Priorities for funding are projects and activities that build bridges between different communities and generations, or build stronger neighbourhoods and communities. Find out more > 

View the national VE Day 75 website - https://www.veday75.org/

With thanks to the Southampton Memories - people and places Facebook page for the images of The Spitfire, Troops and Street Party.

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