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PICTURES: Hyndburn celebrates the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe

We look at the VE Day commemorations in the borough and nationwide and delve back into our Observer archives from May 1945

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Seventy years after the nation broke out in jubilant celebration at the end of the Second World War, Britons will again take to the streets to commemorate VE Day.

Three days of festivities are being held across the UK to mark the anniversary on May 8, seven decades to the day after the announcement that Nazi Germany had offered the unconditional surrender to the Allies that brought about the end of the war in Europe.

Hyndburn Mayor Munsif Dad said that it would be a ‘momentous day’ and encouraged residents to support a commemorative parade through Great Harwood on Sunday, May 10 at 11.30.

He said: “We appreciate the Great Harwood Royal British Legion members time and effort in organising these events to mark this momentous date in history and hope that lots of Hyndburn people go along to support them on May 10.”

For those who remember VE Day itself, like Clayton-le-Moors Royal British Legion chairman Ricky Reed, the anniversary is set to be a poignant moment.

Mr Reed, 81, who is originally from Sunderland said the day was a bittersweet event.

He said: “I was 11 at the time, I remember getting up at 6am and everyone was putting the tables out to fill the length of the street.

“People shared what food they had and we managed to cobble together a bit of meat, cakes and tea. There was also music from the colliery mining band and there were hymns and songs, it was one heck of a time for us kids.

“But it was more difficult for the adults because they had more memories of the war and had lost family members.”

He added: “When the end of the war came it was a bit strange, every night for 18 months at 8pm the German bombers would come across so for a long time I went to bed still expecting to hear the sirens.”

At Accrington Library on May 9 there is set to be a talk from Virginia Allen, daughter of former conscript Jim Allen who served from 1940 to 1945, about her father’s experiences.

The talk will start at 2pm.

In London Veterans will join the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family for a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.

Stars will also perform at a 1940s-themed concert which is being held in London, and the Red Arrows, Spitfire and Lancaster bomber planes will take to the skies in a fly-past over the capital.

Report on VE Day taken from the Accrington Observer, dated May 12, 1945:

‘Accrington town centre presented an impressive spectacle on Tuesday afternoon, VE Day- shortly before three o’clock, when the official announcement of the end of hostilities in Europe was greeted by a huge crowd.

Joy and relief at the end of European fighting was tempered however, with the reminder by the prime minister and the Mayor that though the guns in the West were now silent there was considerable fighting still to be done against the enemy in the East- Japan.

Thus while Accrington fittingly celebrated the liberation of the continent, joy and relief were bounded by the knowledge that many local lads were engaging the Japanese in the steaming jungles of the East.

Through the arrangements for the celebration were necessarily of a hasty character, they proceeded smoothly and there was no hitch throughout the two days allowed for celebrating the event.

The Prime Minister’s speech relayed to the crowd at three o’clock on Tuesday, was listened to in complete silence and so excellent was reproduction that his words could clearly be heard as far away as Queen’s Road.

Fortunately a heavy and continuous downpour which lasted from noon until 2.30pm gave way to brighter weather and by evening- the time when merriment reached its height.’