Friday 8 May marks the historic event, the 75th anniversary, celebrating what became known as Victory in Europe (VE) day.
Yes, we are all in the coronavirus lockdown in the UK, so mass gatherings and big public celebrations have had to be cancelled, however we’re not letting that dampen our spirits amongst the staff here at SSP.
A big event for the SSP social committee was planning how to celebrate VE day and treat the staff to afternoon tea and cakes, with offices decorated with bunting. However, with the pandemic, plans have had to change with us all now working remotely in lockdown.
We didn’t want this occasion to go by without us recognising it though, as I am sure in some way all of our families have a connection to the anniversary and a story to tell.
So here we share what our people will be doing to remember their loved ones and celebrating the momentous day.
“My great uncle, Ray Gerard Smith DFC, flew spitfires in the war and wrote about his experiences. Great uncle Ray is 98 and still going and his book – The Silver Lining – memoirs of a Fighter Pilot, is an excellent read.
He is the brother of my late grandmother, Alfreda Jackson (aka. as Nanny Flat) who sadly died some years ago. In the book, on P66 there is a very small reference to my grandfather, Thomas Jackson. My Nan used to make references to the naval history of her family, but not much was said and my memories are largely confined to the many pictures of war time Malta she had in her flat – my favourite of which is at home with me.
My dad is the youngest of 3 brothers, the eldest, Scott, was old enough to remember his father well. He went on to have a career in the Royal Navy maintaining Bucaneers – he has some stories to tell.” As told by Neil Jackson, SSP’s Head of Operational Effectiveness.
Rebecca Worrall, SSP’s PA said:
“Having watched all the footage of (now) Colonel Tom Moore’s fund raising walk around his garden and the passing of 108 year old Jack Reynolds who broke 4 world records over the age of 100, it really made me emotional and I have been thinking of my own grandfather who would have been turning 106 this December, if he were still alive. To say he was my hero would be an understatement, I am unbelievably proud to say that he was my grandfather and I miss him dearly.
Grandad was a police officer in Central London, one of his jobs before he was deployed to Burma was to guide army personnel and trucks through London to the docks, the government had removed all street signs so if we were attacked on land it would be harder for the invading forces to find their way around.”
And Hannah Parson, SSP’s Marketing Associate, reflects on how her grandparents met.
“My late grandad Edward Morris Parson met his wife whilst they worked in a munitions factory during World War II. He always said how it was great seeing the ladies during the lunchbreaks and Daisy Emily Cook was one of them. My grandparents rarely spoke of the war itself – Ted’s brother was a jeep driver – and they would spend most of the time talking about the ration books. My dad now has the ration books as part of his family’s history.”
Gina Valenti, SSP’s Marketing Specialist says:
“Our village had planned a big event with street parties, bunting, cream teas and music. Although the pandemic has put a stop to the plans, the village committee will still be playing Churchill’s speech over social media at 3pm, with music from Vera Lynn and residents decorating their houses with VE bunting and picnics on the front drive. Whilst still respecting the social distancing rules in place, we can still mark the occasion and remember those who fought for our country.”
However, you choose to celebrate VE day we wish you a lovely and safe bank holiday weekend.