Symbolic beacons to be lit across Suffolk tonight to herald the start of VE Day celebrations

American Airman Bernard Nolan revisits The Swan at Lavenham where he, along with may other service m

American Airman Bernard Nolan revisits The Swan at Lavenham where he, along with may other service men, signed the walls during WWII - Credit: Archant

A weekend of events is planned for Suffolk to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

American Airman Bernard Nolan revisits The Swan at Lavenham where he, along with may other service m

American Airman Bernard Nolan revisits The Swan at Lavenham where he, along with may other service men, signed the walls during WWII. Pictured with son Tom - Credit: Archant

On May 8, 1945, hostilities in Europe officially ended following the formal surrender of German Forces.

The anniversary will celebrate the achievements of the British and Commonwealth military and their allies, but will also pay tribute to the 580,406 members of the armed forces and 67,073 UK civilians who lost their lives during the six-year conflict.

To mark the occasion, more than 200 beacons will be lit simultaneously throughout the country at 9.32pm today.

In Suffolk, these will include the county’s main beacon at First Meadow in Water Street, Lavenham, and others at the Croft in Sudbury, the Village Green at Friston, Sparrow’s Nest Park in Lowestoft and Middleton Moor in Saxmundham.

South Street Ipswich VE day 1945

South Street Ipswich VE day 1945

Then on Saturday and Sunday, a number of wreath-laying ceremonies and reflective celebrations will take place in several local villages and towns.

Lavenham Royal British Legion, in conjunction with the Swan Hotel, is going to town with its celebrations by organising a full programme of events.

Most Read

Tomorrow from 2-4pm, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford will stage an American Aviation Exhibition in the Little Hall and there will be a talk and film showing at 7pm at Lavenham Village Hall about the 487th Bombardment Group, which was based in the village during the war.

On the Sunday at 10am, a memorial service and wreath laying ceremony will take place in Market Place attended by servicemen from RAF Lakenheath. The Little Hall will host a Wartime Memories Workshop from 11am and there will be a number of events at Lavenham Airfield for veterans and their families.

Joyce Green nee Bradford celebrating VE Day in Blackpool with her colleagues in the WRNS. Joyce is n

Joyce Green nee Bradford celebrating VE Day in Blackpool with her colleagues in the WRNS. Joyce is now 92 and lives in Felixstowe - Credit: Jackie Parker

The Swan Hotel, which was frequented by servicemen during the war, has a wall bearing many of their signatures.

Jane Larcombe, the hotel’s business development manager said: “When I walked into the Airmen’s Bar for the first time, I recognised that it was a very special place. So when we found out it was the 70th anniversary of VE Day, we thought it would be a perfect time to mark the debt we owe to all those airmen who came through that bar during the war and put their names on the wall. We also hope the weekend will raise funds for the forces’ charities.”

Also in the west of the county on Saturday at 10am, there will be a parade followed by a service at the War Memorial on Angel Hill in Bury St Edmunds.

In east Suffolk, a special family service of thanksgiving will take place at 9.45am at Friston Church.

Today in Hadleigh, there will be a remembrance event at the town’s war memorial at 3pm. Then tomorrow, veterans, the local RBL Branch, the mayor and town council will form a human ‘V’ shape for a photograph in Market Place at 3pm.