VE Day celebrations can beat virus lockdown

South Kesteven District Council is encouraging residents to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day by celebrating safely in their homes - while connecting virtually with their communities.

The council wants communities to join it in marking the milestone by raising awareness of the district's unique contribution to the war, sharing stories, photographs, and film clips from the past and the present.

It will share ideas to inspire celebrations and home-based VE Day parties, get people cooking wartime dishes, watch some amazing films, get busy with bunting and find out more about what happened in South Kesteven during the war.

District aviation and airborne forces heritage will be shared on social media platforms to add a special local angle to national commemorations, along with ideas for home-based parties and activities, flashback imagery of key events and commemorations.

SKDC will share useful links including the English Heritage downloadable VE Day pack and a guide to what's happening on VE Day, with social media highlighting heritage milestones.

Cllr Kelham Cooke, Leader of SKDC, said: "We have such a proud and distinguished WWII heritage in our district, as we saw last year with the 75th anniversary celebrations of D-Day.

"It is important to remember and celebrate our heritage, paying tribute to the resilience of local people, and those from other countries, who fought together to bring the war to an end.

"There are many events that would have been held throughout South Kesteven if we were not in the midst of a very different battle, but that should not stop our residents from paying their respects and celebrating a very poignant day."

Cllr Cooke said the new Heroes Orchard, recently planted in Grantham, would provide a lasting legacy and a focal point for communities across the district to remember those whose actions brought all generations together.

Since 2014, SKDC has marked key WWII milestones with events, talks, walks and exhibitions, including:

• 70th and 75th anniversaries of D-Day

• 75th anniversary of the September 1944 Arnhem operation

• Dambusters' 617 Squadron raid co-ordination from Grantham

• US Army Air Force occupation of airfields around Grantham

• Pre-D-Day mission launched by American troops from North Witham

• Operation Doomsday launched locally to take German surrender in Norway

Rock House in Stamford was the HQ for First Polish Parachute Brigade before and after Arnhem, and a wartime "Radio Listening Station" was located at RAF Langtoft, close to Market Deeping.

Screen idol Richard Todd, who lived at Little Ponton and is buried in the village churchyard, fought in WWll with the Parachute Regiment before a glittering film career.  He starred in The Dambusters film as 617 Squadron's Wing Commander Guy Gibson and took a leading role In The Longest Day, the epic story of D-Day.