Melton people party like it’s 1945 to celebrate 70th anniversary of VE Day

Rev. Kevin Ashby and church members Linda Pearson and Mike McClure in suitable costume.
Rev. Kevin Ashby and church members Linda Pearson and Mike McClure in suitable costume.
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Maroons were fired and beacons lit to celebrate the 70th anniversary of VE Day as people partied in Melton like it was 1945.

As the nation marked the end of the Second World War in Europe, the town joined in with a programme of community events.

Mayor of Melton John Wyatt, pictured after lighting the beacon on Play Close to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day 'LH2180-01 : �Lionel Heap : EMN-151105-102013001

Mayor of Melton John Wyatt, pictured after lighting the beacon on Play Close to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day 'LH2180-01 : �Lionel Heap : EMN-151105-102013001

St Mary’s Church reverberated to the music of the 1940s and people dressed in clothes from that period or in patriotic red, white and blue colours as part of a street party event on Saturday.

More than 200 people attended to look at memorabilia and displays to illustrate Victory in Europe Day and they were encouraged to bring along food to share out at the church, which was decked out in bunting and flags.

Among those present were Robert Wilson, chairman of the Melton branch of the Royal British Legion, and Mayor of Melton, Councillor John Wyatt.

A presentation was given by Corporal Graeme Lewin, from the town’s Defence Animal Centre, about their work and Corporal Danni Thomas and military working dog Maggs gave a demonstration of how dogs are trained there.

Among the popular activities organised inside the church were an old-fashioned sweet shop, a modern jive dance workshop with the Want2Dance group, craft sessions where people could make flags, hats and paper planes.

And there was also the chance to do some Union Jack waving at a singalong of popular 1940s tunes, led by St Mary’s musical director James Gutteridge.

It was all rounded off with a street party - like the ones which sprang up 70 years ago - with a celebration cake and special candles to add an extra sparkle.

Church spokesman Philip Boulding said: “We would like to say many thanks to everyone who came along to support our activities and a special thanks to our band of helpers who worked tirelessly to make the event such a huge success. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.”

Melton’s began remembering the historic milestone at 3pm on Friday when maroons were fired in Play Close, to herald a two-minute period of silence in memory of the sacrifices made in the conflict with Nazi Germany.

Later, just after 9.30pm, the mayor, Mr Wyatt, lit a beacon in Play Close, following a ceremony and tribute conducted by the Royal British Legion and the Town Estate. This was one of 200 beacons ignited nationwide just after the Queen lit the Principal Beacon outside Windsor Castle.

Schools, residential homes and community centres organised tea parties and commemorative events between Friday and Sunday to mark the anniversary.