How Manchester organisations are paying homage to the 75th anniversary of VE Day

In light of the scaled back VE Day celebration, Manchester groups and organisations are paying homage to the historic day in their own creative way
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Although plans to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day have been scaled back significantly due to the current health crisis, many Manchester organisations will still be commemorating the day in 1945 peace was declared in Europe.


Urban Splash pay homage to legendary Manchester aviation firm

Brownsfield MIll on Great Ancoats Street is currently being renovated by property developers Urban Splash

The building, which is being transformed into a range of new loft apartments, was the original home of Manchester aviation firm, Avro.

They used the open plan mill space on the ground floor to design and build their first plane designs, and went on to design some of the most important wartime aircraft, including the Avro Lancaster, frequently referred to as the ‘dambusters’ plane. The long range bomber was one of the most important aircrafts of the allied campaign during World War II.    

In light of the scaled back VE Day celebration and the contribution Avro made to the war effort, a charitable donation will be made by Urban Splash to the British Legion and Avro Heritage Trust, which operates the Avro museum in Stockport.

A small number of loft apartments remain for sale at the Avro Building, priced from £350,000. For more information, you can watch the new Avro film and sign up for Virtual viewings via the Urban Splash website.


Stretford Mall to be dressed in hero bunting

The people of Stretford are showing no signs of letting COVID-19 dampen their pride or enthusiasm for honouring the sacrifice of our World War 2 heroes this VE Day.

Led by Stretford Mall and Placemaker Events, the town will be coming together to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day and will honour our World War 2 veterans via ‘stay at home’ parties and activities for the whole community to enjoy.

The Mall has invited everyone in Stretford to help them decorate the shopping centre with a downloadable “hero bunting kit” which they’re asking locals to decorate with heroes who inspire them, whether it’s a war veteran or their very own COVID-19 heroes. 

Placemaker Events HQ

The bunting packs are available to download or can be picked up at the Mall during essential shopping or at Placemaker Events HQ on Baron Road. Once completed, the bunting can be dropped off at a specially created postbox at Placemaker Events. Her house is en route to Stretford Meadows, so most locals pass it during their daily exercise. Owner Haylea Osborne is also hosting a cake sale on VE Day to raise money for Trafford Veterans Community Group. 


Care homes are having a VE Day extravaganza

A special VE Day episode of a new online variety concert created especially for the elderly and care homes during the lockdown will air on Friday 8th May.

The Best Seat in the House has been created by The Not Forgotten, a British armed forces charity for serving and ex-service men and women.

The twice-weekly, hour-long shows have been enjoyed by residents in thousands of care facilities across the UK, as well as those who have tuned in from their own homes. From messages of hope to performances inspired by the 1940s through to 1970s, celebrity guest appearances have included Sir Cliff Richard, Brian May, Brian Conley, Anita Dobson, Lesley Joseph, and Russell Watson.

The special VE Day episode celebrates the best of wartime entertainment and will not only feature a message from forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, but will provide a trip down memory lane with a collection of tributes to the likes of Winston Churchill, Gracie Fields, Anne Shelton, the Andrew Sisters, Max Miller and many more. 

The Best Seat in the House is available to watch on The Not Forgotten’s YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/TheNotForgottenAssoc – with new episodes uploaded every Tuesday and Friday from 3pm GMT. For more information on The Not Forgotten, visit thenotforgotten.org 

The VE Day special episode will be available from 9am on Friday 8th May.


A vet charity is sharing exclusive e-books about heroic animals ‘who also served’

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, leading vet charity PDSA is paying tribute to the brave hero animals who also served and helped save countless lives during World War II. 

The charity is commemorating the milestone by sharing exclusive e-books which tell the remarkable stories of animal heroes honoured with the PDSA Dickin Medal. These include the story of messenger pigeon Duke of Normandy, who flew for 27 hours through bullets and bombs to deliver vital, life-saving intelligence to Allied Forces.

The prestigious medal – known as the animals’ Victoria Cross – recognises outstanding acts of gallantry and devotion to duty displayed by animals serving with the armed forces or civil defence units in theatres of war. 

To read the full stories of these amazing animal heroes and more download the free PDSA Dickin Medal e-books here


Stagecoach bus workers’ special rendition of “We’ll Meet Again”

Stagecoach bus workers right across the country have joined together to create a special video to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Bus drivers, engineers, managers, cleaners and many other employees feature in the tribute video covering Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime anthem “We’ll meet again”.

Staff from across 16 Stagecoach depots came together to sing a line of the famous song to recognise and pay tribute to all those who fought so hard on the front line during WWII.


Pubs will raise a pint to our heroic war veterans

Pubs have always played a vital role in bringing communities together to celebrate national and cultural events of great significance, from sporting successes to royal weddings. To mark the anniversary of VE Day, pubs across the country were granted extended licensing hours and many had organised community celebrations to commemorate the occasion.  

The nationwide shut down of pubs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has severely hampered the ability for pubs to play their traditional leading role as community hubs. It’s the first time pubs have been closed on this scale since records began – even in WWI and WWII, many pubs remained open. 

Despite the challenges, pubs across the nation are calling on their local communities to raise a glass on Friday as part of a nationwide toast at 3pm when publicans up and down the country will ring their pub bells and raise a glass in honour of war veterans and inspiring their local communities to do the same. 

The national toast, which is backed by the government, will recognise the massive sacrifice and courage of the heroes of WWII. 

And at 3pm on Friday, publicans from the following Joseph Holt pubs will each read a line from the 2018 war poem A Cry for Peace Around the World by Bruno Peek, pageant master of VE Day 75: 

The Roebuck, Urmston; The Hayfield, Ormskirk; The Griffin, Heald Green; The Golden Lion, Blackley; The Friendship, Prestwich; The Mort Arms, Tyldesley; The Eagle & Child, Whitefield; The Norfolk Arms, Glossop; The Millhouse, Warrington; The Sidings, Levenshulme; The Woodthorpe, Manchester; Platform 5, Cheadle; and the Fairway Inn in New Moston, Manchester.

Cheers!

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