People across Suffolk and Essex mark VE Day anniversary

Celebrating the VE Day anniversary in Sudbury with members of the ephemera group dressing the part

Celebrating the VE Day anniversary in Sudbury with members of the ephemera group dressing the part - Credit: Archant

Thousands of people across Suffolk and Essex stopped to remember the sacrifices made during the Second World War yesterday as events took place to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

More than 200 symbolic beacons were lit in Suffolk to mark the anniversary of the end of hostilities in Europe on May 8, 1945. They were lit in places including Lavenham, Sudbury, Friston and Saxmundham.

In Stowmarket a parade took place organised by the Royal British Legion took place, followed by a remembrance ceremony.

A cafe in the town run by the social enterprise Realise Futures, @The Rec, also served up cream teas and corned beef and jam sandwiches – which were found on many tables during celebrations seven decades ago.

Meanwhile, in Colchester, veterans, dignitaries and members of the public gathered together at the town’s war memorial for a short ceremony led by The Right Reverend Roger Morris, Bishop of Colchester.

Colonel Gary Wilkinson CBE, Commander of Colchester Garrison, said: “This was a simple but poignant service to mark 70 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe, which was an occasion of mixed emotions. It is important that we join together to both remember all those killed during the Second World War and celebrate the victory and outpouring of relief there was in 1945 at the end of six long years of war.”

Sudbury Town Council, Sudbury Museum Trust, Sudbury Ephemera Archives, the local Women’s Institute (WI) and the Royal British Legion also joined together to celebrate the anniversary of VE Day yesterday afternoon.

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The events centred around the Town Hall where the soon-to-be opened Wheeler Exhibition Room at Town Hall was open for a preview with exhibits relating to the Second World War, including ephemera from local schools.

The WI served teas in the Mayor’s Parlour which also hosted a wartime-themed sing-along. Meanwhile, in the streets outside, members of the Ephemera Group dressed as land army girls. Standard bearers from the Royal British Legion attended a minute’s silence at 3pm, after which the bells of St Peter’s rang out. In the evening, a beacon was lit on The Croft at 9.32pm.

There are a number of events still due to take place this weekend to mark VE Day, which will also pay tribute to the 580,406 members of the armed forces and 67,073 UK civilians who lost their lives in the six-year conflict.

The Lavenham Royal British Legion, in conjunction with the Swan Hotel, has lined up a full programme of events including an American Aviation Exhibition in the Little Hall, taking place today between 2-4pm.

In Bury St Edmunds today, there will be a parade followed by a service at the War Memorial on Angel Hill.

The event is due to start at 10am.