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Raise a toast to our heroes to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day

PUBLISHED: 14:48 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:48 09 July 2019

Landseer Road VE street party in Ipswich in 1945. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Landseer Road VE street party in Ipswich in 1945. Picture: ARCHANT ARCHIVE

Suffolk is invited to join the commemorations for the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE Day) next year.

Limes Avenue in Bramford on VE Day in 1945. Picture: Archant ArchiveLimes Avenue in Bramford on VE Day in 1945. Picture: Archant Archive

May 8, 1945, marked the surrender of Nazi Germany - and now we are asking towns and villages in Suffolk and Essex to take part in the nation's tribute.

The Victory in Europe (VE) day 75 logo. Picture: VE day 75The Victory in Europe (VE) day 75 logo. Picture: VE day 75

On the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day, you are invited to raise a toast to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Second World War.

In 10 months' time, at 3pm on Friday, May 8, 2020, we want people across the region to raise a glass to our war heroes.

Organiser of the 75th anniversary of VE day celebrations Bruno Peek OBE with Pipe Major Roger Bayes from City of Norwich Pipe Band . Picture: ANTONY KELLYOrganiser of the 75th anniversary of VE day celebrations Bruno Peek OBE with Pipe Major Roger Bayes from City of Norwich Pipe Band . Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The date of the early May bank holiday has been moved to the Friday, to allow more people to join in a long weekend of poignant commemorative events.

Sir Winston Churchill giving his familiar 'V' sign. Picture: PA/PA WireSir Winston Churchill giving his familiar 'V' sign. Picture: PA/PA Wire

The Nation's Toast is an initiative created by Bruno Peek, pageant master of VE Day 75, of Gorleston. "It's a simple but totally unique way to remember the war heroes of the Second World War," Mr Peek said.

The VE Day memorial service in Lavenham in 2015, 70 years on. Now 75th-anniversary commemorations are being planned. Picture: PHIL MORLEYThe VE Day memorial service in Lavenham in 2015, 70 years on. Now 75th-anniversary commemorations are being planned. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

"Everyone can get involved in some way, and there should be no excuse for pubs not to take part in the Nation's Toast.

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"We've already had a lot of interest not just nationally but worldwide as well, which has been great."

Special commemorations were held around the region in 2015 for the 70th anniversary, with widespread church services and celebrations - and now we are getting ready to reflect again on the sacrifice, courage and determination of all those who saw Britain through its darkest hour.

For the 75th anniversary, other tributes on the day will include pipers playing Battle's O'er and a specially composed tune, VE 75 Years, and the Cry for Peace around the world by town criers. Thousands of pubs will also be ringing their pub bells, before church bells around the world ring out for peace. There will also be many parties and celebrations over the weekend.

Mr Peek, 68, has already overseen a number of landmark anniversaries including the Queen's Golden and Diamond Jubilees and a number of World War tributes. He said the VE Day 75 events had been 18 months in the planning.

He urged every borough, city, district and parish council to grasp the opportunity to celebrate our freedom.

Mr Peek said: "It is so important we remember not only the war heroes but the women who were left behind working in the factories and as nurses.

"The great thing about the Nation's Toast is that everyone can play their part and can have a refreshment of their choice."

If you are planning commemorations of any kind, visit the VE Day 75 website to register the details.

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