I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
People around the world are being invited to join a local authority in England as it prepares to virtually commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day. A number of organisations across Lichfield District in Staffordshire are joining forces to ensure that the landmark anniversary of the ending of World War Two in Europe is still remembered and marked despite the coronavirus epidemic putting an end to all major outdoor events across the continent and beyond on Friday 8th May and the following Bank Holiday weekend. While many planned events have had to be cancelled or significantly scaled back due to the ongoing spread of the virus, Lichfield district is marking the 75th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe by adapting plans to fit lockdown guidelines.
Historic Lichfield Cathedral is joining cathedrals across the country with the Big Picnic for Hope, a project designed to remember heroes of the past and present. The Big Picnic for Hope is an opportunity for households to have a picnic indoors or in their gardens, while connecting virtually with family and friends. It gives the nation a unique way to remember heroes who have kept the country safe in the past and those on the new home front, including key workers - from carers, delivery personnel, grocery workers and public transport workers to medical researchers and frontline NHS staff.
Join in the Big Picnic for Hope from your dining room or garden. Credit Rae Mcalpine
And, in nearby Alrewas, the National Memorial Arboretum will also be running a range of digital initiatives to mark VE Day 75. Among the range of schemes is a planned Tea for II exhibition which has been specially adapted so people can enjoy it online instead. Inspired by the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which the Arboretum was due to commemorate with an outdoor event, it explores the quintessentially British nature of tea and how these landmark occasions were marked at home and abroad. To accompany this, the arboretum has also put together VE Day activity packs for children and adults as well as VE Day 75 anniversary tours of the arboretum's famous memorials that can be downloaded from its website.
Take part in the traditional British pastime of tea!
Councillor Iain Eadie, Lichfield District Council's Cabinet Member for Investment, Economic Growth & Tourism, said: "It's important that we have an opportunity to thank the Second World War generation and to remember the great sacrifices they made. From having a picnic to going on a virtual tour of the Tea for II exhibition, the revised plans will enable us to mark this historic date and to feel part of a wider community, despite taking part in the commemorations from home." To find out more about the virtual VE Day 75 initiatives please visit www.visitlichfield.co.uk/veday75.