Harrogate stands still to observe two minutes silence for 75th anniversary of VE Day

Harrogate has paid its respects to our World War Two heroes by joining in with the nation's two minutes VE Day silence this morning.

Friday, 8th May 2020, 2:56 pm
Updated Friday, 8th May 2020, 2:58 pm

A lone bugler sounded the start of the two minutes as Harrogate and the whole of Britain stood still to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

Despite the coronavirus restrictions, a good crowd attended the War Memorial, ensuring they stood well apart to comply with social distancing regulations.

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A bugler sounds the start of the VE Day two minutes silence at 11am at the War Memorial in Harrogate. Picture Gerard Binks

While many events have had to be cancelled due to the lockdown, some street parties are still being held across the district while The Queen will also address the nation with a special VE Day message.

Many of us will be celebrating from behind closed doors, and there are a raft of alternative celebrations taking place designed to be undertaken safely in a socially distanced climate.

The highlight of many patriots' days will be The Queen's speech, followed by national doorstep rendition of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

Wreaths are laid at the Harrogate War Memorial as a two minutes silence is observed to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Picture: Gerard Binks

The Queen will deliver a highly personal address to the nation, describing the personal significance of VE Day 75 years on.

The broadcast will emanate from Windsor Castle on Friday 8 May at 9pm on BBC One – the same time her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.

"Let us remember those who will not come back, their constancy and courage in battle, their sacrifice and endurance in the face of a merciless enemy," the King said in an emotional address.

King George had famously visited east London with the Queen Mother to see with his eyes the devastation caused by the German raids, which boosted Briton's morale during the blitz and throughout the war.

Wreaths are laid at the Harrogate War Memorial to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Picture: Gerard Binks

Prince Charles will also read an extract of his grandfather's diary from 8 May 1945.

The entry describes several events that took place on the momentous day, including the Royal Family’s iconic Buckingham Palace balcony appearances.

Members of the Royal Family, along with the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, will take part in video calls with Second World War veterans instead.

Two year old Rosa Moralee lays a rose after the two minutes silence at 11am. Picture Gerard Binks

The veterans will also receive calls from NHS Volunteer Responders.

Throughout the afternoon, Britons are encouraged to hold 1940s-style afternoon tea parties at home rather than street parties, including their homemade bunting and recipes from the era.

Between 2.45 and 3.45pm, the first of two special BBC One programmes to mark VE75 will be broadcast, an including extract from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech.

Waving to the crowds from the Ministry of Health balcony, the Prime Minister said:“My dear friends, this is your hour. This is not victory of a party or of any class. It's a victory of the great British nation as a whole.

"We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing, but let us not forget for a moment the toils and efforts that lie ahead," he said.

People attend the start of two minutes silence at 11am, making sure to observe the social distancing regulations. Picture: Gerard Binks

VE Day 75: The People's Celebration begins on BBC One at 8pm

A wreath is laid at the Harrogate War Memorial to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Picture: Gerard Binks