Your guide to joining the ‘virtual’ VE Day celebrations on May 8

Westgate VE Day tribute Photo Michael Grantham

Thanet is getting ready for VE Day celebrations marking the 75th anniversary since the end of war in Europe.

Events had been due to take place across May 8-10 but social distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic mean these can no longer take place.

Instead, many residents are expected to join a VE Day ‘party in your front garden’ event.

Among those planning to take part are residents in several Westgate streets. There is also a commemorative display on the green by Westgate Library created by residents Lorraine Hambidge and husband Richard.

The VE Day sign, made from recycled materials, stands beside the soldier silhouttes the couple installed in time for last year’s Remembrance Sunday.

Lorraine said: “My end of town, about eight roads, are holding picnics in their front gardens and we are turning the Christmas tree which was planted last year into a celebration of our service heroes across the years.

“The tree will be covered in bunting and we are going to ask the people of Westgate to attach a small laminated photo of family members who have served our country up to the present day.”

Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council is also urging people to mark the occasion with a front garden tea party.

People are asked to get into the spirit and create their own party:

  • Decorate your homes with Union Jack bunting
  • Turn up the 1940s jazz music
  • Take your hair rollers out and get your red lipstick on
  • Get your strawberries and cream ready
  • Get your Bake Off on!
  • Pack a garden/living room picnic
  • Raise a drink at 3pm to honour those that had to give so much
  • And have fun!

The town council has been posting 1940’s content on its facebook events page and has shared a Just Giving link if people wish to donate £2, with all proceeds going to the NHS to help in this difficult time.

VE Day 2020 on May 8 will mark  75 years since the guns fell silent at the end of the war in Europe.

VJ Day, on August 15, celebrates the Japanese surrender to the Allies, effectively ending World War Two.

It is hoped that many of the cancelled events due to have taken place between May 8-10 can instead be staged on August 15-16.

National ‘stay at home street party’

VE Day 1945 Mrjspence at English Wikipedia / CC BY-SA (

Many Thanet folk are joining the national ‘stay at home street party’ which has a suggested timetable of events between 11am and 9pm on May 8.

The official commemorations will begin at 11am with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence.

Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will read an extract from King George VI’s diary from 8 May 1945 which describes the day including The Royal Family’s iconic Buckingham Palace balcony appearances.

Members of The Royal Family, the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary will take part in a series of video calls with Second World War veterans and those who served on the Home Front.

Other plans for the day include:

  • As part of special BBC programming, extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech will recreate the moment peace in Europe was announced 75 years ago at 3pm and the Prime Minister will speak about the importance of VE Day.
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury will record a special reflection and moment of prayer for VE Day.
  • Her Majesty The Queen’s 9pm address to the nation will be followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. The public will be encouraged to open their doors and join in with this national moment of celebration.
  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has produced a template pack so that the public can hold a 1940s style afternoon tea party at home complete with homemade VE Day bunting, original recipes, games, and educational and creative activities for children.
  • NHS Volunteer Responders will be deployed to give a number of Second World War veterans a call and provide an opportunity to share their stories.
  • Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow will host history lessons for children from Monday 4 May. At 4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Dan will host a History Hit live on YouTube’s Timeline channel that will focus on a different aspect of the Second World War and aim to teach the public about the importance of VE Day.
  • The Government and Ancestry are working together to encourage the public to join together in commemorating VE Day by discovering their own connection to the Second World War. As part of this, all UK historical records available on will be free for the public from Monday, May 4 until Sunday, May 10, giving people the opportunity to uncover the personal stories of the Second World War and the roles their families played.

You can download DCMS’s commemoration afternoon tea party guide here and activity pack for children here.

You can see and take part in Dan Snow’s creative challenge for children here.

Thanet council is promoting the national programme and asks that those organising a stay at home party, be responsible, maintain social distancing and be considerate towards neighbours.