Residents invited to hold street parties for VE Day celebrations

Merton Council is encouraging residents to apply to close their road for a street party on 8, 9 or 10 May in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe after five years of carnage and destruction will be an opportunity to both celebrate peace as well as mourn all those that died in the war.

In May 1945, millions of people up and down the country took to the streets and pubs to celebrate peace, mourn their loved ones and to hope for the future, and it’s hoped that this spirit can be recreated at this year’s street parties.

Events to mark the anniversary are set to sweep the nation after the Government moved the early May bank holiday to Friday 8 May to honour the occasion. As well as the street parties, planned activities include traditional tunes played by pipers, a collective toast in pubs across the country, a coordinated ringing of church bells for peace and religious ceremonies of celebration and commemoration. A listing of events both locally and nationally can be found at www.veday75.org

For more information on how to apply to close your road for a street party, visit www.merton.gov.uk/streetparties. The deadline for submitting an application is 24 April 2020.

Councillor Dennis Pearce, Merton Council’s Armed Forces Champion, said, “VE Day was one of the most momentous days of the 20th century, and it’s only right that we both celebrate the lasting peace that followed it as well as commemorate all those that gave their lives in the five years before.

“The 75th anniversary will provide our nation, and our friends around the world, with an opportunity to reflect on the enormous sacrifice, courage and determination of people from all walks of life, including the ancestors of many local families, who saw us through the dark and terrifying period that came before VE Day.

“We welcome the fact that the early May bank holiday has been moved to mark the anniversary and we’d encourage all residents to get involved with the weekend’s schedule of events. One of the best ways to get involved is to get together with your neighbours and organise a street party. After WW2 ended, celebrations like these erupted up and down the country, and it would be fantastic to capture that jubilance and sense of community 75 years later on the streets of our borough.”