Street parties and parades were part of the huge events that had been planned to mark VE Day, this Friday, across the country.
But we can still mark the occasion – the end of the Second World War in Europe – by decorating our homes, holding social distanced street parties and taking part in virtual events and activities. Even better, they won’t cost us a pretty penny.
#1 Join in with the Sofa Singalong
Join in at home with a wartime sofa sing-along with The Sofa Singers at 3pm on Friday. By registering you’ll be able to join in an online, international singing group and learn to sing three war-time songs.
In doing so, you’ll receive the lyrics in advance and there’s no cost at all to participate. You just have to download the Zoom app, if you haven’t already, and that doesn’t cost anything either. You’ll be joining choirmaster James Sills and other participants for this virtual performance. And even if you don’t register, it will be streamed live on YouTube, so you’ll still be able to join in. Find out more here.
#2 How to VE Day at Home
Learn favourite songs from the forties including Lambeth Walk and the White Cliffs of Dover, how to do the Lindy Hop swing dance and find recipes for good ol’ fashioned forties food and drink, such as ginger beer, carrot scones and cheese and marmite swirls.
#3 Keep calm and bake
You’ll find loads of recipes online for some of the forties’ most popular cakes. Why not bake Churchill’s favourite fruit cake using the recipe used by his long-standing cook, Georgina Landemare who catered for Winston during the war at Downing Street? Or what about a Condensed Milk Cake slightly adapted from the original Ministry of Food leaflet? Or how about Wartime Carrot Cake, which was really popular during the Second World War, when sugar was rationed, and sweetness replaced by the carrots?
#4 Get crafty and make your own bunting
With bunting now being either out of stock or overpriced, it’s easy to paper bunting to hang in windows or garden.
The simple craft activity is a great way to keep the kids quiet for an hour or two in lockdown as well as showing respect for the fallen soldiers of World War II.
# 5 Remember the two-minute silence
Tune in to BBC1 at 11am on Friday to join in with and observe the nationwide two-minute silence to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, paying tribute to heroes past and present.
#6 Relive the Announcement of Victory with The Nation’s Toast
Join ‘The Nation’s Toast’ and raise a glass with the nation to the heroes of WWII, from 2.45pm on BBC1, as we relive the announcement of the end of the Second World War by Winston Churchill. It was at 3pm, on May 8th 1945, that Churchill made the famous radio address from Downing Street, announcing the end of hostilities.
We’re told that celebrities will read personal testimonies from the day’s celebrations, there’ll be music by military bands, and Prince Charles will read an extract from his grandfather George VI’s diary for May 8.
#7 Learn the life story of WW2 Veteran Captain Tom Moore
Tune into ITV at 8pm to watch our new national treasure, Captain Tom Moore, tell the story of his part in World War Two.
The former British Army Officer – who has so far raised more than £33million for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden with his frame – looks back on his time during the War in the brutal Burma campaign.
#8 Dig out the lippy, curl your hair and put on your glad rags
There’s been little make-up applied for many over recent weeks, so why not mark the momentous VE occasion by talking to friends and family or looking online for for hair, fashion and make-up ideas from the 1940s and giving them a go?
#9 Host a VE Day stay at home street party
As long as we stick to socially distancing rules and stay at home as set out in UK lockdown rules. we’re being encouraged to celebrate the day – decorating our homes in red, white and blue and putting up bunting and flags. This way, neighbours can mark the occasion from their windows or outside as their one hour of exercise.
For those who’d rather stay indoors, you could always host an afternoon tea with your household or extend it to friends and family on a video call, using platform such as Zoom, WhatsApp Video, FaceTime or Houseparty.
If you need inspiration, ideas, recipes or tips on how to throw your own VE Day Stay At Home Street Party, check out the Government’s new website with everything you need to host and enjoy responsibly.
#10 Indulge in a delicious afternoon tea
A quintessentially British afternoon tea is a great and cost-effective foodie option for VE Day. Think mini sandwiches, cakes, scones with jam and cream and a good old cup of tea.
If you fancy pushing the boat out, Morrisons has just launched a VE Day afternoon tea at home delivery box that includes everything you need to have a tea party in lockdown. Priced at £15, it’s available online and contains everything you’ll need to put on an afternoon tea party. As well as the classic clotted cream, jam and scones, there’s also ingredients to make sandwiches for two. And it also includes ingredients to make the all-important tea, as well as a box of lemon Bakewell tarts, a Belgian chocolate fudge cake and some champagne truffles.