On Air

Tony Dibbin


Celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day have been abandoned today due to lockdown, but there are still many ways Britons can remember the end of war in Europe.

On 8 May 1945, thousands gathered for parties on the streets of London's West End for the announcement of peace after six years of the Second World War.


In a message broadcast to the nation, then prime minister Winston Churchill announced: "Hostilities will end officially at one minute after midnight tonight, Tuesday the eighth of May. We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing."


Crowds cheered jubilantly and danced into the night as they celebrated the long-awaited peace on Victory of Europe day.

A day later, Germany surrendered to Russia after the battle for Berlin and the war in Europe was over.

There were big plans for the UK to mark the 75th anniversary this Friday - which took years of planning - including a procession down The Mall and a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.

The traditional early May bank holiday was even shifted from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to help people get out and honour the men and women who served.

While these have obviously been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are still celebrations to be had which do not involve crowded festivals and parties.

At 11am, a national two-minute silence will be held to reflect on the sacrifice of those who fought in the war.


At 3pm, Britons are being invited to take to their doorsteps to raise a glass, cheer and clap during The Nation's Toast to the Heroes of World War Two. The official VE Day website reads that there'll be a chant of the phrase: "To those who gave so much, we thank you."

People have also been encouraged to mark the occasion in a picnic in their front gardens and have socially distanced parties on their driveways.

Online guides are easily found online for DIY bunting displays.

Some are also planning to hold virtual celebrations with friends and family over video calls using Zoom, FaceTime or Houseparty.

There will also be an campaign urging families to share stories or photos of those who lived through the war on social media, as well as place a Tommy figurine in their window.

A pre-recorded speech by the Queen will be broadcast at 9pm, the very moment her father, King George VI, addressed the people over radio on May 8 1945.