70th Anniversary of VE Day

Bugler at the VE Beacon lighting ceremony

Bugler at the VE Beacon lighting ceremony

A series of events in Leicester commemorated the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The anniversary was marked with a two-minute silence at 3pm on Friday 8 May, when shops and offices around the country will come to a standstill in reflection and respect.

Later that evening, members of the public were invited to join representatives of local veterans’ organisations in Town Hall Square, when a commemorative beacon  – one of more than 200 around the country – was lit.

The gas-fuelled beacon – specially produced for the anniversary – had a unique burner head in the shape of a ‘V’ for victory.

The Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Lady Gretton, and the High Sheriff of Leicestershire, Gordon Arthur, lit the beacon at 9.32pm – two minutes after HM The Queen lights the principal beacon outside Windsor Castle.

A bugler then played the Last Post.

The following day, a peal of bells rung out from Leicester Cathedral, and on Sunday 10 May, prayers were said during morning service to commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

Head of Arts and Museums at the City Council Sarah Levitt said: 

Leicester is proud to play a role in the national commemorations and celebrations around the 70th Anniversary of VE Day.

The lighting of a special beacon in Town Hall Square will provide an opportunity for local people to reflect on all those who lost their lives during the Second World War – and to appreciate what the end of the war must have meant to those families in Leicester who had loved ones fighting overseas, or who faced the terror of bombing raids.    

VE Day 1945 would have been a day of mixed emotions for people in Leicester – huge euphoria and relief that the war was finally over, and yet deep sadness at the sacrifices that had been made to achieve victory.

We hope that people will join us in Town Hall Square at 9.30pm on 8 May to help us commemorate this important anniversary.”

The beacon in Town Hall Square – one of more than 200 to be lit nationwide – was provided by the Department of Communities and Local Government.