Worcestershire joins over two hundred beacons to light up the skies for VE Day

Published Thursday, 7th May 2015

Worcestershire will join more than 200 Beacon locations around the country in lighting a special beacon to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day on the evening of Friday, 8 May.

The special gas fuelled Beacon produced for VE Day this year has a unique burner head in the shape of a V for victory.

At 9.32pm, Malvern's Worcestershire Beacon together with over 200 beacons, will be lit following the lighting of the Principal Beacon outside Windsor Castle by Her Majesty The Queen.

In  Malvern, the Worcestershire Beacon will be lit by Lord Lieutenant Patrick Holcroft to mark the start of a week of celebrations, and all those who took part in the Second World War in Europe, both on the Home Front and overseas.

Celebration and reflection

VE Day marks the official end of hostilities in Europe for the Second World War on 8 May 1945, following the formal unconditional surrender of German Forces. It was an occasion of national celebration, yet also one of sombre reflection for those who would not return. This anniversary will celebrate the achievements of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the allies in their victory overseas and on the Home Front, but will also pay tribute to the 580,406 UK and Commonwealth Forces and 67,073 UK civilians who lost their lives during six long years of conflict.

Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Pageant-master of the VE Day 70th Anniversary Beacons said: “VE Day on the 8 May represents a further important milestone in the history of our country. It was on this day, 70 years ago, that peace brought an end to nearly six years of war across Europe. We must not let this day pass without reflecting on the sacrifice, courage and determination of the people who saw us through this dark period.

“It therefore fitting that we should celebrate with the veterans and their families and commemorate this historic anniversary once more through the lighting of beacons on Friday 8 May this year.

Her Majesty The Queen has graciously agreed to light the Principal and first Beacon outside Windsor Castle. This will be followed by two further Beacons being lit along the Long Walk in Windsor Great Park, just before the lighting of the other two hundred plus Beacons throughout the United Kingdom."

Alan Smith, Worcestershire Partnership Manager added: "It is a huge honour to be involved in the VE Day 70th anniversary celebrations.  This will be a tremendously significant moment for anyone who was there and can recall it and so important for the rest of us to remember the sacrifices made and those who lost their lives.  We hope that across Worcestershire, residents will be able to look up and see our flaming beacon of hope that marks the start of celebrations and events over the weekend."

Beacons large and small, either specially built gas-fuelled structures or simple bonfires, will be lit across the country to mark VE Day 70 this year, and individuals are being asked to attend a beacon-lighting event in their area, hosted by their local authority, to which veterans of the Second World War will be invited. In the North of England a beacon will be lit beneath the world-famous Blackpool Tower.  As the beacon is lit the tower will become illuminated with a flame effect at the top, which will be seen for miles and will be kept lit throughout the weekend.

To find out where a beacon is being lit in your area, along with a variety of other events taking place across the UK over 8-10 May, you can visit the VE Day 70 events map. Here you will find details on events such as street parties and picnics, special concerts and celebratory bell-ringing from your local cathedral or church.

Barbara Weatherill, 89, from Selby, North Yorkshire, was serving in Sunderland in the Army in 1945.

"I’d heard the news about the war being over but couldn’t celebrate as I had to transport rations to another Army base.

The journey took twice as long, as the streets were filled with people celebrating and having a great time. It will be fantastic to see some of that joy again in the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary."

Other locations include: Liverpool Town Hall, Castle Cornet, Guernsey, Hertford Castle, Hertfordshire, Nottingham Castle, Nottingham, Ross Castle, North East Lincolnshire, the grounds of Manchester Cathedral, Manchester, Rochdale Cenotaph, Rochdale, City Hall, Greater London Authority, Rowley Hills, Oldbury, West Midlands, Coronation Gardens Wakefield, the Butes, States of Alderney.