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Provost asks North Ayrshire to mark VE Day

Posted on 6 May 2020

Provost Ian Clarkson is urging people across North Ayrshire to raise a toast in tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War Two.

Friday, May 8, is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day - generally known as VE Day - marking the formal acceptance by the Allies of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.

This year’s significant anniversary was to have been commemorated with events across the UK but the Covid-19 pandemic has meant that most public events have been cancelled.

However, Provost Clarkson is urging North Ayrshire residents to join him from their own homes in remembering those who gave their lives in the conflict.

At 3pm on Friday, May 8, people can join in the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ by standing up and raising a glass of refreshment of their choice.

The Provost said: “I’m so disappointed that we will be unable to gather together and pay homage to the men and women who gave so much for the generations which followed.

“Millions of them paid the ultimate price and we cannot forget their sacrifice.

“Even though we cannot gather to publicly honour them, we can still pay tribute from our own homes by taking part in the Nation’s Toast to the Heroes.

“It’s perhaps a chance for us to reflect on what they went through 75 years ago and how – even despite the current lockdown – we are very fortunate today and continue to owe them a colossal debt of gratitude.”

Those taking part in the Toast are asked to raise a glass and say: “To those who gave so much, we thank you.”

Provost Clarkson also paid tribute to the many groups in North Ayrshire and farther afield who planned events to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

He added: “I want to pass on my sincere thanks to all those who had put so much effort into planning events to commemorate the day.

“It’s a pity that we will not be able to share our appreciation in person but their dedication and commitment to mark the occasion will not be for nothing – I’m sure we will get the chance at some point in the near future to come together and pay our respects collectively.”

Although most public events have been cancelled, people across North Ayrshire will also pay tribute in their own way.

  • No 25 Group Royal Observer Corps received funding for a beacon to be erected at the Secret Bunker museum in Skelmorlie to be lit at 3pm on Friday, May 8.  Weather dependant this will go ahead, along with sounding the all-clear siren, flying the ROC flag and transmitting VE Day in Morse code.
  • Councillor Donald L. Reid, who is the secretary of Barrmill Jolly Beggars Burns Club, has recorded Robert W. Service's poem "Young Fellow my Lad", which will be broadcast on Facebook.
  • North Ayrshire Family History Society has given a shortened version of a talk that was due to take place by John Riddell entitled "The Establishment: Fairlie's secret war"
  • Beith Cultural and Heritage Society have carried out research into three local soldiers
  • Kilwinning Heritage are supplying history about aspects for the home guard in Kilwinning.

North Ayrshire Council’s Heritage and Cultural Services will be sharing these stories and commemorating VE Day 75 online. Please follow North Ayrshire Heritage and Cultural Services on Facebook and @NACHeritage on Twitter.