The Covid-19 lockdown has meant Mansfield will now be hosting a huge virtual party to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on Friday 8 May.
Mansfield District Council had been planning to hold a big celebration at Four Seasons Shopping Centre but due to the national coronavirus social distancing measures, all its events have been put on hold until at least September.
However council bosses felt 8 May was too significant a date to ignore and so put on their thinking caps about how best to mark the day 75 years ago when the guns fell silent, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, while at the same time keeping everyone safe from the virus.
So now residents are being encouraged to hold picnics in their front gardens, using 1940s inspired recipes to rustle up tasty treats, and to make some noise to mark the occasion in a community street singalong of wartime favourites.
A web page - www.mansfield.gov.uk/VEDay (link opens in new window) - has been included on the council's website to support the event.
People are being encouraged to deliver wartime-style treats to elderly friends, neighbours and relatives who may be in lockdown isolation, to help evoke memories of the past. Among the recipes online are ones for ginger creams and golden slices.
The council is also supporting a national two minutes' silence at 3pm followed by the official Nation’s Toast to all World War Two heroes.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: “From the safety of your own home, please join us by standing up and raising a glass of refreshment of your choice and making the following toast; ‘To those who gave so much, we thank you'.
"We felt it was important to still say thank you to those who fought for us and to lift the spirits of our communities whilst in lockdown so we hope lots of people join our Virtual VE Day Party in Mansfield whilst obviously maintaining social distancing at all times. There will be something for everyone, so decorate your homes and join the party!"
In the run-up to the event the council, with thanks to Mansfield Museum’s creative thinking, will be adding a video to its social media channels showing how to make rosettes to wear, bunting to dress homes and Union Jack flags to wave throughout the day.
To reach elderly or vulnerable members of the community, who may not have access to the internet, the council is creating an invitation for people to print out and take round or post to their friends and neighbours so they don't miss out. This will soon be available on the council website.
Other event resources will shortly be available on the website and social media pages so people are encouraged to check in online to see the most up to date information. The council will host a range of activities via its Facebook page during the afternoon and the whole family can join in.
The event will end with a wartime singalong of memorable 1940s favourites at 8.15pm, led live online on the council's Facebook page by Jessica Poole, a professional singer known as the Yorkshire Belle. Song lyrics will be posted online to help people who want to join in.
Jessica has performed in theatre shows, on cruise ships, at Disneyland Paris and at Armed Forces Day events since studying at Leeds College of Music and Manchester's Arden School of Theatre.
Her 40s tribute show features favourites from Vera Lynn, Gracie Fields and The Andrews Sisters, such as "Hang out the Washing", "In the Mood" and "White Cliffs of Dover".
She will end the set by encouraging everyone to go outside and sing “We’ll meet again”, the iconic wartime tune, immortalised by Vera Lynn, as part of the national community singalong at 9pm.
Details of this nationwide event can be found on the VE Day Community Singalong Facebook event (opens in new window).
The schedule in Mansfield is:
- 9am: Video message from the Mayor
- 10am: Army style workout
- 11am: Arts and crafts
- 12noon to 2pm: Lunchtime street picnic
- 3pm: Nationwide two minutes' silence, preceded just before 3pm by the Last Post played by a bugler from Mansfield and District Corps of Drums and followed immediately afterwards by a national toast
- 5pm: Charleston dance tutorial
- 6pm: 1940s hair styling tutorial
- 8.15pm to 9pm: Wartime singalong.
Keep an eye on the council's web page at www.mansfield.gov.uk/VEDay (link opens in new window), Facebook page (opens in new window), and Twitter page (opens in new window) for details about how everyone can get involved.