Celebrating VE Day in Blackpool 2020

Written by Juliette W Gregson – heritage and history editor for the BPL bible

Victory in Europe Day, generally known as VE Day or V-E Day, is a day celebrating the formal acceptance by the Allies of World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces on Tuesday, 8 May 1945.

May Day is traditionally held on a Monday but will be put back to Friday 8 May 2020. VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, marks the day towards the end of World War Two when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe. The holiday will form part of a three-dayweekend of commemorative events.

Blackpool evokes fond memories for those evacuated to the resort, for the troops based here during the wartime years and for those who found respite from the horrors of war.

With the national events scaled back and Blackpool closed to visitors because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the resort is determined to add some sparkle to the celebrations on May 8 with a mixture of tributes and virtual activities

To mark the occasion, some of the key venues and attractions will be illuminated in red, white and blue over the Bank Holiday weekend including the Big Wheel on Central Pier, the dome of the Winter Gardens, the promenade-fronted Hampton by Hilton hotel, the seafront Cenotaph and the Lightworks Illuminations depot.

At 3pm on May 8 2020, Blackpool’s Town Hall bells will ring out for five minutes to commemorate the 75thanniversary of VE Day. The Town Hall’s flag will also be raised as well as Blackpool’s Tower’s.

The cenotaph will also be a beacon for Blackpool as it will join more than 200 locations around the country in lighting a special beacon to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day on the evening of Friday 8 May.

A special gas fuelled burner will be lit at 9.32pm on Friday in front of the town’s famous cenotaph, while The Blackpool Tower will also shine red, white and blue with a beacon flame effect from 9pm.

 

 

If your on your daily walk nearby remember to send us your photographs please! 

Across the country, over 200 beacons will be lit at 9.32pm, following the lighting of the Principal Beacon outside Windsor Castle by Her Majesty The Queen.

 

In Blackpool, the beacon will be lit by Mayor of Blackpool, Cllr Val Haynes, to mark the start of a week of celebrations for all those who took part in the Second World War in Europe, both on the home front and overseas.

 

 

Victory in Europe Day marks the official end of hostilities in Europe for the Second World War on 8 May 1945, following the formal unconditional surrender of German Forces. It was an occasion of national celebration, yet also one of sombre reflection for those who would not return. This anniversary will celebrate the achievements of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the allies in their victory overseas and on the Home Front, but will also pay tribute to the 580,406 UK and Commonwealth Forces and 67,073 UK civilians who lost their lives during six long years of conflict.

The tower was used as a radar / early warning site and designated RAF Tower during the war.

Interesting titbits of history… All evening shows at cinemas and theatres had to end by 9.30 pm, as the whole of the Fylde coast blacked out for safety. 

The places of entertainment owned by the Blackpool Tower and Winter Gardens Company gave a Forces reduced admission price of 6d.

While all the resorts on the South coast were closed for fear of invasion, Blackpool remained open for business – and it flourished in spite of the hardships suffered by all. 

Barricades were built on the Promenade to foil invaders, old tram tracks were placed upright in the sands, public air raid shelters were constructed on the Promenade and elsewhere, and open-air water tanks built all over Blackpool in case of bomb damage to water pipes. 

The word ‘Blackpool’ was painted out on signs in the town, to confuse the enemy should they come ashore during any invasion. Tree trunks on roadsides were whitewashed to make them visible during blackouts.

 

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