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Coventry people are being urged to help the city pay tribute to those who gave so much to win peace in Europe 75 years ago.
Friday 8 May marks the anniversary of VE Day, and although plans have had to be changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Coventry will still be honouring the war-time sacrifice of the city, its people, the country and those around Europe.
There will be a national two minute silence at 11am people are being urged to stand on their doorsteps, in their gardens and the safety of their own homes to join the tribute.
Shortly after, at 12noon, Coventry Cathedral will be broadcasting a short pre-recorded service available to watch on both the Cathedral’s Facebook page and its YouTube channel.
It will feature an address from The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, Bishop of Coventry, as well as a reading from a veteran’s memories and a contribution from the Lord Mayor of Coventry Cllr Linda Bigham.
Also in the city, the Business Improvement District (BID) team has linked up with city centre businesses to provide afternoon teas that are being delivered to people’s front doors so they can join in on the day safely from their own homes and gardens.
And people around the city are being invited to pay their own tributes while staying within social distancing guidelines.
West Midlands Police have urged people to continue to stay home and help to protect the NHS and save lives and that call has been echoed by the West Midlands Ambulance Service and the City Council.
Cllr George Duggins, Leader of the Council, said: “VE Day is such an important anniversary for our country and others around Europe – and as a leading city of peace and reconciliation, it is a very important one for Coventry.
“Our city and its people suffered greatly in those terrible years and this anniversary gives us all a chance to remember those who gave so much for peace, whether in service, or on the Home Front, and it reminds us of the need to continue our city’s work for peace.
“Many of us will also be remembering family members and loved ones and I know people across the city will be keen to show their respects, but I would urge everyone to do so safely – to protect themselves and others, and stay at home.
“We can still celebrate as a city, even though we must stay apart.”
Lord Mayor Cllr Linda Bigham added: “Our wonderful city showed such resilience and community spirit through those terrible war years and we will be proud to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
“However, we are now being asked to show that resilience and spirit once more, to support our NHS workers and the frontline heroes battling coronavirus and we need to stay at home and stay safe.”
The City of Culture Trust Team will also be joining the celebrations on the day. And there is more on the Visit Coventry pages.
Her Majesty The Queen will address the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945, and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will be reading an extract from King George VI’s diary from that historic day.
Other plans include a broadcast of Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech; an address from The Archbishop of Canterbury; and an invitation to join in a doorstep singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ following the Queen’s speech.
To keep up to date, visit www.coventry.gov.uk, www.coventry2021.co.uk or the local BBC pages.