Ahead of VE Day on Friday, North Yorkshire residents are being encouraged to reflect on the togetherness and community spirit that they share with those who celebrated the end of the Second World War in Europe in 1945.
The chairman of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Jim Clark, has been at the forefront of events to mark the anniversary in the county and while these are now on hold, he believes the messages behind the celebrations remain as relevant as ever.
While people can’t gather because of Covid-19 restrictions, county council services are helping people to mark the day, including creating a virtual children’s choir, staging digital library activities and investigating the Second World War at home with the County Record Office.
Cllr Clark said: “This anniversary was never just about looking back at something that happened 75 years ago, and the situation in which we find ourselves today makes that even more pertinent.
“Then, as now, it is about community spirit. The theme of Holocaust Day this year was Stand Together.
“While we can’t do that physically, we can in spirit. We can stand together in remembrance and thanksgiving, against hatred and prejudice and for building stronger communities.
“I encourage people in towns and villages across North Yorkshire to take time to reflect and to remember in their own way.”
Cllr Clark will give a reading at a virtual Ripon Cathedral VE Day service at 11am on 8 May.
The Dean of Ripon, the Very Rev John Dobson, will lead the service. The Archbishop of York, the Most Rev Rt Hon Dr John Sentamu, will speak and the Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Mrs Jo Ropner, will also give a reading. Dishforth Military Wives Choir and the Black Dyke Band will also take part.
The service can be accessed via the cathedral’s website, www.riponcathedral.org.uk
Planned events that will now be rearranged include a celebratory concert organised by the county council’s music service.
This would have involved more than 400 school children and have featured the County Youth Choir, County Youth Symphony Orchestra, County Youth Big Band and the Army Band, Catterick.
Instead, the music service has invited children that were to sing to record themselves singing along at home to two wartime Vera Lynn songs, We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover.
The recordings will be edited to feature the choir in a video that will be posted on the county council’s social media channels over the coming weekend.
The county council’s service pupils’ champions were also to have hosted two large children’s street parties and, in libraries, intergenerational events showcasing memories of VE Day were planned. Some library events have now moved onto social media.
The County Record Office has compiled an online collection recalling VE Day and wartime on the home front in North Yorkshire.
This can be viewed at https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/celebrating-ve-day