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Westbury VE Day 75th Anniversary and Commemoration 8th May 2020. A Cry for Peace around the World

Due to Covid-19 we will be celebrating in style with a STAY AT HOME STREET PARTY!

Westbury Community Shop will be selling a delicious pre-prepared cream tea and cake box. You can put your orders in at the shop £10 a head (01280 841775)

Join in with a village rendition of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ at 3 pm. Lyrics can be found at: https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/veralynn/wellmeetagain.html

You can download a colouring poster HERE.

Details on how to make Great British bunting can be found at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4TrqYDyf4PMdLypxzyTwGDg/great-british-bunting%MCEPASTEBIN% or you could use your iron for a perfect template!

Cry For Peace Around the World

Pre COVID-19 arrangements

Dear villagers,

By way of an update, WVHA and the Parish Council are actively planning for a day of activities for the VE day commemoration in May.

So far we have arranged for the Café to serve period authentic food and an afternoon tea, there will be live jazz and swing music with the band playing hits of the era, ballroom dancing, a NAAFI wagon serving authentic period drinks and much more we hope. Please read on.

It is our earnest wish to make the day as realistic as possible. Please wear period authentic dress if at all possible. Whether you come as a land girl, ARP warden, bank clerk, Home Guard, (don’t panic! You know where this is going) it will add to the authenticity. Please bear this in mind; Cathy Knott has some useful information concerning places that can help with the ‘retro’ look.

There will be activities planned in the time leading up to the date for village children to prepare a lasting memorial picture to hang in the hall. More information to be sent out in the coming weeks.

Now….did you know……Westbury and the surrounding villages and towns played a major part during the war; supporting the training pilots for the RAF at the surrounding airfields of Turweston, Silverstone, Bicester, Finmere and Hinton-in-the Hedges. At RAF Brackley (now Croughton), pilots for gliders were trained who later landed on D-Day and at Arnhem. There were engineering and parts manufacturing units, specialist paint production (for RAF planes) based in Westbury and of course the production of food throughout the period. There were evacuees and a steady flow of people in transit with the odd visit from our American allies based in Northamptonshire, seeking a bit of fun or “R n R”!

We have had a number of volunteers offering to help but would really welcome a few more, given the requests and suggestions we have received back for the day and what could be done. We aim to make as complete and as cherished a memory that we can, as we reflect for possibly one final time on such a scale VE Day. We are hoping that a large collection of photos can be assembled in a memorial ‘scrap book’ that can be downloaded as a permanent memory… “2020 I was there”! So…..

We would welcome help with activities suggested by both VE Day organisers and villagers to further enhance the experience of the day. In no order of importance:

1. One or more children to read two short wartime poems (to be agreed) and a child to read ”A Cry for Peace around the World”.

2. Villagers and reaching out to anyone from the surrounding farms and villages, who would like to display photographs from 1939 – 45, write up a human-interest story, display mementos from the period in the hall. We are arranging for some display boards to be made. The scope is wide and includes everything from family members with childhood memories of the area, village stories, wartime service contributions of family members, farming activities, growing and harvesting, factory work and war effort work, meeting friends and allies, recollections of the actual VE day in 1945 passed on down through the years. Anything that demonstrates the valuable work on the “home front” as it was referred to and how thankful people were that peace in Europe had at last been won.

3. We would welcome anyone complementing the above with a story to tell about a family member’s active service, or anyone famous based near here. In quick searches, we have found an amazing story concerning a young woman who travelled from South America to become a WAAF. She was based at Bicester; knew this area and served there until her language skills were noted and she was directed to a very different path!

4. Enthusiastic persons of all ages who would like to make a representative model of the types of aircraft used locally from a list of famous marques. A few of us older types hanker after the days of polystyrene and glue with the odd dab of paint. It does not need to be museum quality, merely built with a generous dollop of devotion and care. We will have a coordinator for this.

5. A plethora of period vehicle clubs and owners exist in and around Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to name three counties. It would be great to have a mixture of transport examples at the hall, comprising vintage cars, lorries, tractors and motorcycles, civilian, contractor or military. A list of possibly the top ten in each category is available for reference (see motor vehicles of interest). If you know of anyone with such a vehicle, they would be welcome to bring it along or call in on the day. Please advise them; contact information below.

6. We would like someone to run a cake stall (with donations of cakes accepted on the day).

We do hope you can join us – add it to your calendar; we would love your family’s contribution to the event. THANK YOU! In respect of the above – please feel free to contact Ian and Lorraine Towner using the email: ianatwner@hotmail.com or via Cathy Knott – Parish clerk.

Cry For Peace Around the World

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