Wombourne comes together (but stayed apart) to celebrate VE Day
Along with the rest of the country, on the 23rd March 2020, Wombourne went into lockdown. We did this to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable in our community from the disease known as Covid-19. On Friday 8th May however, Wombourne burst into life once more to join in a national celebration; the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
This significant anniversary came at a time when our appreciation of life 75 years ago is likely clearer and more meaningful than ever. In the midst of another national, and even international struggle for survival, undertaken for a lengthy period of time, and against all odds, this country similarly erupted into life and song to mark the defeat of Fascism and a new age of peace across Europe. Today, we appreciate sacrifice, the importance of close friends, family and community all the more. We also cherish our freedoms that were so hard-won in 1945 more so for having to relinquish them, even if momentarily.
Even prior to the Prime Minister’s announcement of lockdown measures, we had already got moving in Wombourne with the establishment of the Wombourne Community Assistance Group. Due to our newsletters and social media presence, you probably know plenty about this group already – and perhaps you have benefitted from a phone call, some shopping, or even a Positivity Parcel from one of our fantastic team of volunteers.
In fact, it was this desire to emphasise ‘positivity’ at this time that led the Parish Council and WCAG to promote VE Day celebrations across the community. Having been in lockdown for six weeks already, it was a perfect opportunity for residents to share in some fun and good humour, as well as develop further all of those wonderful friendships we seem to be developing with neighbours we may not have known before.
The message went far and wide, with leaflets to every home in the village; posts on Wombourne Online, Wombourne Best Kept Village and the Parish Council website and Facebook pages; requests to residents with memories of the original VE Day to share their recollections with us, which they did in substantial numbers, and many of you may have seen examples shared online; a number of local businesses were encouraged to offer cream teas or picnic lunches to help mark the celebrations, and I’m pleased to say they all sold out.
What happened next is a credit to all of you who make up our wonderful village. You heard the call to join in the celebration, and you did so in style. You hung out the bunting, raised your flags and got out in your gardens to share the day with your neighbours – all whilst social distancing, of course!
Music rang out from some quarters, and quizzes entertained whole streets in others. Children coloured in posters, pictures and even the pavements in many places, and many of us joined in singing Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’ which feels ever so apt for our own time.
Thank you for making this 75th anniversary of peace in Europe so special, and thank you for not letting the lockdown get you down. We hope that WCAG will be able to continue supporting your community as long as is necessary, and we thank you for your very kind support. As part of our VE Day memories, members of the team took many photos and videos of the day around the village, and along with the collected memories, these will be retained for future generations to see that when it came our time to do our bit, support each other and battle through difficult times, Wombourne did so in style!
Thank you for rallying round us for VE Day, and standing tall against Covid-19.
Wombourne Parish Council