Stevenage leaders commemorate 75th anniversary of VE Day at war memorial
PUBLISHED: 10:21 09 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:21 09 May 2020
Three Stevenage leaders came together yesterday to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day by laying wreaths at the war memorial on the town’s Bowling Green.
Plans for public events and traditional street parties to commemorate the milestone had to be abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic, but people were still determined to mark the occasion in their own homes and gardens and honour the sacrifices made by so many for our freedom today.
Publicly, Stevenage Borough Council leader Sharon Taylor, mayor Simon Speller and MP Stephen McPartland met to lay wreaths at the town’s war memorial, while observing social distancing guidelines, and Cllr Taylor unveiled a special memorial bench, which she had had commissioned using her locality budget.
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Councillor Taylor said: “We couldn’t have the VE Day commemorative events we planned, but I was very proud to join the mayor, our MP and friends from the British Legion for an informal wreath-laying at the war memorial.
“Deepest and profound thanks to all those who sacrificed in war, those who endured pain and disruption to families and communities, those whose extraordinary contribution brought us through our darkest hours, and those who paid the ultimate price with their lives and the loss of loved ones. We never forget that the enduring peace which has been the privilege of our lives for 75 years, we owe to you. We will never forget. We salute you. We hold you in our hearts today and always.”
Cllr Speller said: “Both my parents were at secondary school during the war and they told me many stories of what it was like to live under bombing, so, for me, this day marked the end of a true people’s war where civilians themselves were on the frontline from the bombing and, in places like Stevenage, our production effort definitely gave us the edge over the enemy. To those who gave so much, we thank you. Bless you all.”
Mr McPartland added: “I was proud to join the mayor and leader of Stevenage Borough Council in a small, socially-distanced memorial to remember those who sacrificed so much. In celebrating VE Day, we will always remember the sacrifice made.”
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