Ideas to Help Plan Your Own VE Day Celebration

Friday 8 May marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day - the official end of the Second World War in Europe, and we want everyone to be able to commemorate this special day safely. In...

Friday 8 May marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day - the official end of the Second World War in Europe, and we want everyone to be able to commemorate this special day safely.

In 1945, the long-awaited news that the Second World War had come to an end in Europe resulted in celebrations breaking out across the nation. Unfortunately, due to the current Covid-19 crisis, families and communities across the nation will be unable to celebrate this 75th anniversary in quite the same way.

But fear not! While we may not be able to have the public celebrations many people planned, we can still remember the heroes of WWII. We have put together a range of ideas to help you make the most of this special day and pay tribute to those men and women who sacrificed so much for us.

Tell us what you’re doing!

We’d love to hear what you’re doing on 8 May! Share your photos on Twitter @DorsetCouncilUK and /DorsetCouncilUK on Facebook using the hashtag #VEDayDorset. Share your Second World War stories and messages of remembrance by using the ‘comments’ link at the top of this page.

Get crafting!

VE Day celebration There are lots of templates on the internet for everything from bunting to VE Day thank you cards. We’ve also prepared a VE Day home celebration kit with templates you can print and color in. The VE-VJ Day 75 toolkit also has templates, including thank you cards to place in your windows and coloring-in posters.

Dance like it’s 1945!

The Lindy Hop was all the rage in the 1940s. It’s a swing dance that originated in New York in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It gained popularity in the UK in the 1940s thanks to the American servicemen stationed here during the Second World War.

Have a look at these instructions from English Heritage or see some great videos on the internet of the professionals in action.

Have a singalong

There’s a national singalong of Vera Lynn’s "We’ll Meet Again" at 9pm. You can watch and join in on BBC One. The Royal British Legion has provided the lyrics on their website.

Get cooking

1940s recipes This is a good opportunity to get creative in the kitchen! From spam hash or homity pie to eggless fruit cake, we could certainly be innovative! What dishes do your family remember from that time, and have any become family favorites that you’re still cooking today?

Here are a few recipe ideas.

Do your hair and make-up

Many of us may have been skipping our make-up recently, and don't even get us started on our hair! Well, Friday 8 May is a good day to dig out the lippy, curl your hair, and put on your glad rags! Once again, talk to your family or search the internet for hair, fashion, and make-up ideas from the 1940s. Bletchley Park provides some instructions in their activity pack for the Victory Rolls hairstyle, named after the victory maneuver of fighter aircraft first seen during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Ways to commemorate

VE Day commemoration

  • Pause for a Two Minute Silence at 11 am and watch stories and memories from those who served and sacrificed during the Second World War.
  • Join 'The Nation's Toast' at 3 pm - raise a glass with the nation to the heroes of WWII (broadcast starts at 2.45 pm on BBC1).
  • Watch further VE Day 75 special broadcasts on the BBC, including extracts from Churchill's famous victory speech and Her Majesty The Queen addressing the nation at 9 pm.

Research your family history

If you can, next time you talk on the phone to the older members of your family who may have lived through the war, ask them what they remember. Ancestry.co.uk will also be making their resources free between 4 and 10 May, and that’s a great resource for researching family history.

World War II history

Historian Dan Snow has set a VE Day challenge for young people and members of the public on a dedicated website. Dan will also host a daily history lesson on different aspects of the Second World War live on YouTube for children from Monday 4 May at 11 am each morning on his History Hit YouTube channel. The Dorset History Centre also has resources and information. See The Keep Military Museum website and learn about Dorsetshire Regiment’s role in the war.

Online resources

  • Read our press release.
  • Plan your VE Day party, including songs and playlist.
  • How to get involved with celebrations.
  • Bletchley Park activity pack.
  • VE Day 75 bunting and posters to print and color.
  • English Heritage at-home pack, including recipes, dance steps, popular songs, 9 things you should know about VE Day, and VE Day in pictures.
  • Royal British Legion singalong, learning pack, livestream, and leave your own message.
  • The Dorset History Centre, including education and learning resources and getting started with family history.
  • The Keep Military Museum, including information about the Dorsetshire Regiment in the Second World War Battalions.
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