Friday 8 May 2020 was no ordinary VE Day, despite it being the 75th anniversary, with the whole country in lockdown. But, on Fair Green, we still managed to have some fun.
Bunting had begun to go up around Fair Green, Riverside and Denmark Street, as well as along Tottington Lane, Denmark Lane and Sandstone Avenue earlier in the week, when became clear lots of us would be taking part. Friday itself started with our bonus flypast from the Red Arrows at 10am, which a few people managed to see (you had to be quick!). On Friday morning, the Angel Cafe were open, preparing cream teas and more for collection. At 11am, the whole country observed a moving two minute silence.
Andy Rackham kindly brought his large speaker and microphone to the middle of the Green, which meant we were able to broadcast the Last Post at 2:55pm (played from a YouTube video). We are very grateful to him, and to the Mayor of Diss, Sonia Browne, who joined us (complete with her mayoral chain) to propose our toast to the heroes of World War Two through a microphone. Our picnics then began, accompanied by 1940s tunes played through Andy’s speaker throughout the afternoon, bringing a distinctly festive atmosphere to our tea parties. Some glamourous and/or 1940s-inspired dressing up certainly added to the sense of occasion!
Everyone kept an appropriate social distance, and despite this, our tea was extremely convivial and went on until at least 7pm, thanks to the music and the wonderfully warm weather! In the evening, H.M. The Queen gave her VE Day commemorative address to the nation, saying:
Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish. Instead we remember from our homes and our doorsteps. But our streets are not empty; they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other. H.M. The Queen, 8 May 2020
This was definitely the case on Fair Green. It was almost like she’d been there!
So many people put fantastic effort into their bunting, window displays and other decorations: Fair Green looked a picture. A particular mention must go to the Hines family in Denmark Lane, whose display was so good, it made The Diss Express!
Congratulations to everyone who took part to make sure that the 75th anniversary of VE Day, and the sacrifice of so many, was honoured and not forgotten – despite the challenges of coronavirus.
Many thanks to Tracey Taylor for her beautiful photo collages of the day.