News, Culture & Society

Garden centres OPEN: Customers will return next week as the lockdown eases

Garden centres will be allowed to reopen next week under Boris Johnson’s plans to ease the lockdown.

They can let customers visit again from Wednesday provided strict social distancing and hygiene measures are in place, Government sources said.

Cleaners and tradesmen such as plumbers who work inside people’s homes will also be urged to go back to work.

The lockdown has already been loosened for cleaners and nannies as Boris Johnson prepares to unveil his coronavirus ‘exit strategy’ on Sunday amid signs the UK’s united front is crumbling.

Guidance slipped out earlier this week states that domestic helpers ‘can continue work’ in people’s homes, ‘providing that you are well and have no symptoms’. It also confirms that tradespeople can carry out maintenance.

Although Downing Street has been frantically playing down the scale of the changes, Mr Johnson is also set to go further when he addresses the nation by dropping the ‘stay at home’ slogan that many believe has been too successful in bringing the economy grinding to a halt.

He is also likely to emulate steps announced by Wales today, where limits on outdoor exercise are being dropped, and plans made for garden centres and libraries to reopen.

Garden centres can let customers visit again from Wednesday provided strict social distancing and hygiene measures are in place, Government sources said.

The Queen paid tribute to Britain's lockdown spirit tonight with an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, in which she said Second World War heroes would admire the nation's response to the pandemic

The Queen paid tribute to Britain’s lockdown spirit tonight with an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, in which she said Second World War heroes would admire the nation’s response to the pandemic

The Welsh government announced yesterday that garden centres in Wales will be allowed to reopen from Monday.

However, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon gave no indication that the ban in Scotland would be eased.

The Prime Minister will use a televised address to the nation tomorrow night to warn that many restrictions will need to stay in place for several more weeks while coronavirus is brought under control.

Ministers will finalise a 40-page ‘road map’ setting out an exit plan from the lockdown ahead of his statement. 

This is expected to include advice to wear ‘face coverings’ in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult, such as on public transport and in shops.

Downing Street yesterday said that Mr Johnson would move with ‘maximum caution’ in easing the lockdown in order to prevent a deadly second wave of infection.

But he will ditch the ‘Stay at Home’ slogan in favour of a slightly less restrictive one.

And he is expected to announce a number of ‘easements’ to the lockdown rules.

These will include ending the once-a-day restriction on outdoor exercise and lifting the ban on sunbathing in parks, provided people keep a safe distance from each other.

Garden centre operators have warned they face ruin if they cannot shift their stock.

From Wednesday, they will be allowed to open across England, but tea rooms, playgrounds and soft play areas will have to remain closed. 

A Government source said: ‘We have heard the calls from garden centres, who are in a very difficult position because of the nature of their business.

Mac is back, for drive through snack

Fast food drive-throughs should reopen – because they are perfect for maintaining social distancing, a minister said yesterday.

McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King have started resuming service at their kiosks on a pilot basis in anticipation of an easing of the lockdown.

George Eustice, the Environment Secretary, said: ‘Probably a McDonald’s drive-through is made for the social distancing situation, in that people do not leave their car. It is quite possible for these venues to reopen, and reopen safely – we never mandated they should close.’

Asked at the daily No 10 briefing if fast food outlets could have stayed open, Mr Eustice said: ‘While clearly restaurants and pubs had to close, we were quite keen to keep that capacity to be able to do takeaway food.’

McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King have started resuming service at their kiosks on a pilot basis in anticipation of an easing of the lockdown [File photo]

McDonald’s, KFC and Burger King have started resuming service at their kiosks on a pilot basis in anticipation of an easing of the lockdown [File photo]

‘The fact they are largely outdoor open spaces means the risk of transmission is relatively low, so long as people follow the rules.’

They are the first of the ‘non-essential’ retail outlets allowed to reopen.

The Prime Minister is also expected to encourage sectors not directly affected by the lockdown to resume operations. This will include construction firms and those working in other people’s homes such as cleaners, plumbers and carpet fitters. 

They will be issued with new advice for operating safely. This will include keeping open internal doors, staying two metres from homeowners and accepting electronic payments rather than cash.

Ministers are also in discussion with rail firms about increasing services from May 18 as more people return to work. But office workers will be told to continue working from home indefinitely.

And the Prime Minister is not expected to make any immediate change to the bans on social gatherings or the closure of pubs, shops and restaurants.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference last night, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: ‘There isn’t going to be any dramatic overnight change. We’ve to be very cautious, we are not out of the woods yet.’

Ministers are also considering increasing fines for people who break the rules and introducing a 14-day quarantine for those arriving from abroad. The PM wants to continue with a UK-wide approach. But yesterday there were signs this was beginning to fracture.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson is hoping to get some children back to school after half-term at the end of this month, although he has not set a firm date. But Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said schools in Wales would not go back at the start of June. And Miss Sturgeon said her government was only easing the once-a-day exercise rule.

Meanwhile, the Government came within a whisker of its 100,000-a-day virus testing target for the first time this week, conducting 97,029 on Thursday.

Progress has been held back by ‘technical difficulties’ at one of the major testing laboratories.

Mr Johnson has set a target to increase capacity to 200,000 tests a day by the end of this month.

The Prime Minister is also expected to encourage sectors not directly affected by the lockdown to resume operations. This will include construction firms and those working in other people’s homes such as cleaners, plumbers and carpet fitters

The Prime Minister is also expected to encourage sectors not directly affected by the lockdown to resume operations. This will include construction firms and those working in other people’s homes such as cleaners, plumbers and carpet fitters

‘Never give up, never despair’: The Queen says VE Day generation would still recognise Britain’s lock-downed nation in electrifying speech – exactly 75 years after her father marked the end of WWII in Europ

The Queen paid tribute to Britain’s lockdown spirit tonight with an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, in which she said Second World War heroes would admire the nation’s response to the pandemic.

The 94-year-old monarch, who was 13 when war broke out in 1939, added: ‘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. 

‘And when I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire.’

She added ‘ Never give up, never despair – that was the message of VE Day.’

Her words were delivered to the very second that her father, George VI, gave his VE Day speech 75 years ago. 

The Queen’s speech was filmed in the white drawing room at Windsor last week, where she and her husband, Philip, 98, who served with distinction in the Royal Navy during the war, are isolating. 

The Queen paid tribute to Britain's lockdown spirit tonight with an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, in which she said Second World War heroes would admire the nation's response to the pandemic

The Queen paid tribute to Britain’s lockdown spirit tonight with an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, in which she said Second World War heroes would admire the nation’s response to the pandemic

The Queen's address was delivered to the very second that her father, George VI, gave his VE Day speech 75 years ago

The Queen’s address was delivered to the very second that her father, George VI, gave his VE Day speech 75 years ago

As the Queen spoke of the jubilant celebrations which 'some of us experienced first-hand', she was no doubt thinking back to her own VE Day adventures as a 19-year-old princess, when she danced in delight outside Buckingham Palace

As the Queen spoke of the jubilant celebrations which ‘some of us experienced first-hand’, she was no doubt thinking back to her own VE Day adventures as a 19-year-old princess, when she danced in delight outside Buckingham Palace

King George VI waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace as he stands with Queen Elizabeth and their two children Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret during Victory in Europe Day to mark the end of the war in Europe

King George VI waves from the balcony of Buckingham Palace as he stands with Queen Elizabeth and their two children Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret during Victory in Europe Day to mark the end of the war in Europe

Queen’s message will resonate with public amid pandemic, expert claims 

The Queen’s message to the nation as part of the VE Day anniversary celebrations will resonate with the public amid the coronavirus pandemic, a royal expert has said.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said of the address: ‘This is as relevant today as it is for the occasion it’s commemorating 75 years ago.’ 

‘It very much resonates with the situation we find ourselves in right now,’ Mr Little said.

‘There are some remarkable similarities, where the Queen says ‘Never give up, never despair’.

‘That was the message of VE Day but really that message can be applied to the present day.’ 

The royal commentator highlighted the fact that 25 years ago the Queen was on the Buckingham Palace balcony with her mother the Queen Mother and sister Princess Margaret for the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe.

‘You’d imagine her thoughts must be drifting back to that and clearly the same day in 1945,’ Mr Little said. 

After the broadcast, the nation was invited to open doors and windows and take part in sing-a-long of Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again, during the BBC’s VE Day 75 show.

The Queen’s words were her second televised address during the coronavirus crisis, and followed her speech to the country on April 5, when she said if Britain remained resolute ‘we will overcome it’.

A picture of her father George VI, who became king after his brother Edward VIII abdicated to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson, was next to the Queen on her desk as she spoke to the nation. Her address with black and white footage of her father’s wartime speech.

On VE Day on May 8, 1945, George said: ‘Let us remember the men of all the services and the women in all of the services who have laid down their lives. 

‘We have come to the end of our tribulation and they are not with us at the moment of our rejoicing.’  

Speaking about the start of the war, the Queen, then schoolgirl Princess Elizabeth, said: ‘The outlook seemed bleak, the end distant, the outcome uncertain. But we kept faith that the cause was right – and this belief, as my father noted in his broadcast, carried us through.’

‘Never give up, never despair – that was the message of VE Day. I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace,’ she said.

‘The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside and across the country was profound, though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice.’

 

Princess Elizabeth learning vehicle maintenance on an Austin 10 Light Utility Vehicle while serving with No 1 MTTC in Surrey

Princess Elizabeth learning vehicle maintenance on an Austin 10 Light Utility Vehicle while serving with No 1 MTTC in Surrey

A pair of Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and a cap worn by the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, at Buckingham Palace

A pair of Auxiliary Territorial Service overalls and a cap worn by the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, at Buckingham Palace

During the Queen’s address black and white footage was shown of the famous Buckingham Palace balcony moment when the Queen, her family and Sir Winston Churchill acknowledged the crowds.

There were scenes of revellers conga-ing through the streets, others ballroom dancing in celebration and street parties being staged with tables full of food from May 8, 1945.

Even the Queen ventured out with a group of friends, including her sister Princess Margaret, to experience the excitement, with the events forming the basis of the film A Royal Night Out.

The monarch went on to say in her broadcast, screened at the end of VE Day 75, a programme of music and memories: ‘It was not until August that fighting in the Far East ceased and the war finally ended.’

‘Many people laid down their lives in that terrible conflict. They fought so we could live in peace, at home and abroad. They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations.’  

Winston Churchill’s grandson Nicholas Soames, who served as an MP for 37 years, paid a short tribute to the Queen following her VE Day message, simply tweeting: ‘THE QUEEN’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘A striking address tonight from Her Majesty The Queen for VE Day on honouring and remembering all those who fought for us, and on the importance of never giving up.’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has praised the Queen’s ‘powerful and moving” address to the nation. 

He tweeted: ‘Never give up. Never despair. ‘Powerful and moving words from the Queen as we share our thanks to those who sacrificed then and sacrifice now to keep us safe.”  

The British public tuned in to watch the Queen's VE Day anniversary address, including 65-year-old Caroline Hogan in London

The British public tuned in to watch the Queen’s VE Day anniversary address, including 65-year-old Caroline Hogan in London

On VE Day 2020 - during the coronavirus crisis - people have celebrated at home. The public have flocked to watch the Queen's poignant address from Windsor Castle to the crisis-stricken nation this evening

On VE Day 2020 – during the coronavirus crisis – people have celebrated at home. The public have flocked to watch the Queen’s poignant address from Windsor Castle to the crisis-stricken nation this evening

‘Never give up, never despair’: The Queen’s Speech 

The Queen paid an emotional tribute to Britain's lockdown spirit tonight with an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day

The Queen paid an emotional tribute to Britain’s lockdown spirit tonight with an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day

I speak to you today at the same hour as my father did, exactly 75 years ago.

His message then was a salute to the men and women at home and abroad who had sacrificed so much in pursuit of what he rightly called a ‘great deliverance’.

The war had been a total war; it had affected everyone, and no one was immune from its impact.

Whether it be the men and women called up to serve; families separated from each other; or people asked to take up new roles and skills to support the war effort, all had a part to play.

At the start, the outlook seemed bleak, the end distant, the outcome uncertain.

But we kept faith that the cause was right – and this belief, as my father noted in his broadcast, carried us through.

Never give up, never despair – that was the message of VE Day.

I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside and across the country was profound, though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice.

It was not until August that fighting in the Far East ceased and the war finally ended.

Many people laid down their lives in that terrible conflict.

They fought so we could live in peace, at home and abroad.

They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations.

They risked all so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe.

We should and will remember them.

As I now reflect on my father’s words and the joyous celebrations, which some of us experienced first-hand, I am thankful for the strength and courage that the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and all our allies displayed.

The wartime generation knew that the best way to honour those who did not come back from the war, was to ensure that it didn’t happen again.

The greatest tribute to their sacrifice is that countries who were once sworn enemies are now friends, working side by side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all.

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.

And when I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire.

I send my warmest good wishes to you all.

A poignant wreath-laying service and two-minute silence was led by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla from Balmoral

The Prince of Wales bowed his head as he led the two-minute silence from Balmoral at 11am on the 75th anniversary of VE Day

The Prince of Wales bowed his head as he led the two-minute silence from Balmoral at 11am on the 75th anniversary of VE Day 

In a heartfelt message to the nation this morning, Boris Johnson - pictured observing a two-minute silence - said 'our gratitude will be eternal' to the 'soldiers, sailors and airmen fought the Nazis with courage, ingenuity and stubborn endurance'

In a heartfelt message to the nation this morning, Boris Johnson – pictured observing a two-minute silence – said ‘our gratitude will be eternal’ to the ‘soldiers, sailors and airmen fought the Nazis with courage, ingenuity and stubborn endurance’

A short service is lead by members from the Inveraray Royal British Legion as they observe a two minute silence on Friday

A short service is lead by members from the Inveraray Royal British Legion as they observe a two minute silence on Friday

Officers and soldiers of Household Division observe social distancing as they take part in a two minute silence

Officers and soldiers of Household Division observe social distancing as they take part in a two minute silence

A man and woman celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day with a UK-themed party outside their house in Worthing, Sussex

A man and woman celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day with a UK-themed party outside their house in Worthing, Sussex

Jane and Toby Lyde, from Tooting, South West London, have pulled out all the stops to decorate their home for VE Day

Jane and Toby Lyde, from Tooting, South West London, have pulled out all the stops to decorate their home for VE Day

Ian and Anna Jones, of Launton, Oxfordshire celebrating VE day - and observing lockdown - in style with Hector the hound

Ian and Anna Jones, of Launton, Oxfordshire celebrating VE day – and observing lockdown – in style with Hector the hound

Residents on Park Street in Windsor are having a street party to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day today

Residents on Park Street in Windsor are having a street party to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day today

Residents on Park Street in Windsor are having a street party to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day today

Residents on Park Street in Windsor are having a street party to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day today

Graham looks on as his wife Sue Gillson untangles a flag on their roof on their home ahead in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire

Graham looks on as his wife Sue Gillson untangles a flag on their roof on their home ahead in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire

The Red Arrows treated onlookers to a spectacular display as they flew over London before heading back to RAF Scampton

The Red Arrows treated onlookers to a spectacular display as they flew over London before heading back to RAF Scampton

The Red Arrows - officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team - flies over the Queen Victoria Memorial

The Red Arrows – officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team – flies over the Queen Victoria Memorial

The Red Arrows carried out a spectacular flypast over London, and Buckingham Palace, on the 75th anniversary of VE Day

The Red Arrows carried out a spectacular flypast over London, and Buckingham Palace, on the 75th anniversary of VE Day

The residents of Cambrian Road in Chester dress up in 1945 clothing and have a tea party to mark the 75th anniversary

The residents of Cambrian Road in Chester dress up in 1945 clothing and have a tea party to mark the 75th anniversary

Miniature schnauzer Jack, 13, in his Union Jack bandana

Ringo Richardson shows off his VE day-themed bandana

Miniature schnauzers Jack, 13 (left) and Ringo, five (right), joined their owners in their garden in Emsworth, Hampshire this morning for the two-minute silence – while proudly showing off their fetching Union Jack bandanas 

Stella, an adorable cat from Gateshead, dons a Union Jack bow tie for the 75th anniversary of VE Day in the north east

Stella, an adorable cat from Gateshead, dons a Union Jack bow tie for the 75th anniversary of VE Day in the north east

Queen is surrounded by personal wartime mementos during VE Day address including brooches given to her by her father and cap from her time in Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 

The Queen was surrounded by historic personal mementos

The Queen was surrounded by historic personal mementos

By Jack Wright for MailOnline

The Queen was surrounded by historic personal mementos from the war years as she paid emotional tribute to the wartime generation in an electrifying speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.  

Her aquamarine and diamond clip brooches were an 18th birthday present from her father George VI in 1944 – just over a year before the end of the conflict in Europe.

The two art deco-style pieces, which the Queen wore separately, were made by Boucheron from baguette, oval and round diamonds and aquamarines.

She also chose to wear the precious jewellery during her Diamond Jubilee televised speech in 2012 – her only other televised address marking an anniversary.

On the desk in front of her was her Auxiliary Territorial Service khaki-coloured peaked cap – part of her uniform when she undertook National Service in 1945.

Also on the desk in the white drawing room at Windsor Castle was a framed photo of her father George VI looking serious but composed in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform with RAF Wings. The black and white picture was taken in 1943 in the midst of the conflict by the celebrated photographer Yousuf Karsh. 

First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster praised the Queen’s ‘wonderful’ address, tweeting: ‘How privileged we are to live thru the great Elizabethan age.’

Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid has praised the Queen’s ‘strength and comfort’. Her co-presenter Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘Once again, the Queen nails it.’

Today marks the official surrender of Germany to Allied forces in 1945, bringing the war in Europe to an end. 

And while large-scale public events could not go ahead, patriotic neighbours battled on, making the best of the situation as they decorated their streets and held tea parties while observing social distancing.   

Many waved from their balconies and gardens as the RAF staged flypasts, with the Red Arrows soaring over Buckingham Palace and the London Eye and Typhoon fighter jets flying over Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. 

Boris Johnson urged Britain to take inspiration from the generation that won the world war as he paid tribute in a VE Day video, adding, ‘we owe them everything.’  

Veterans and members of the public, unable to gather by their local war memorials, quietly reflected in their own homes as veterans up and down the country led the way in paying their respects to the fallen.   

The Prime Minister has also written to veterans, assuring them their efforts will ‘always be remembered’. 

In a heartfelt message to the nation this morning, Mr Johnson said ‘our gratitude will be eternal’ to the ‘soldiers, sailors and airmen fought the Nazis with courage, ingenuity and stubborn endurance.’ 

At 6pm, Katherine Jenkins led the nation in a chorus of wartime songs by Dame Vera Lynn in the Royal Albert Hall for 30 minutes behind closed doors for the first time in the venue’s 150-year-old history,  

The Welsh songbird performed songs including We’ll Meet Again and The White Cliffs of Dover, while she even duetted virtually 103-year-old troops sweetheart Dame Vera as a young woman. 

At Balmoral, Prince Charles led a two-minute silence at 11am to remember the servicemen who had died fighting for the freedom of Britain, its Empire and the territories which became the Commonwealth.

The Prince of Wales, accompanied by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, wore a Highland Day Dress – a Hunting Stewart kilt – as well as medals.  

Charles’ message with his floral tribute read: ‘In everlasting remembrance’. Camilla left a note with her bouquet in memory of her father Major Bruce Shand, who served with the 12th Lancers during the war. 

General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, this morning urged the public to ‘spare a thought’ for those stuck at home at a time of celebration as he said the lockdown made it ‘tough’ on veterans. 

VE Day is a ‘very special’ occasion, the beloved 100-year-old veteran Captain Tom Moore has said, as he remembered his comrades from the Second World War. 

The Yorkshireman, who was 20 when he was conscripted, said ‘we all need to be very happy’ during celebrations. He walked 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday, raising more than £32million for the NHS.

Katherine Jenkins duetted virtually with troops sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn in an empty Royal Albert Hall on the 75th anniversary of VE Day

Katherine Jenkins duetted virtually with troops sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn in an empty Royal Albert Hall on the 75th anniversary of VE Day

Katherine Jenkins has led the nation in a chorus of wartime songs by Dame Vera Lynn in an empty Royal Albert Hall today, and even duetted virtually with Dame Vera, as defiant Brits commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day

An officer plays The Last Post on the trumpet during the two minute silence at St James's Park in London on Friday

An officer plays The Last Post on the trumpet during the two minute silence at St James’s Park in London on Friday

Members of the Armed Forces are seen during a service at the Cenotaph, Whitehall to pay tribute to the wartime generation

Members of the Armed Forces are seen during a service at the Cenotaph, Whitehall to pay tribute to the wartime generation

Veterans sit outside the Care for Veterans site in Worthing, Sussex, to watch a spitfire flypast to mark the VE Day anniversary

Veterans sit outside the Care for Veterans site in Worthing, Sussex, to watch a spitfire flypast to mark the VE Day anniversary

World War II veteran Len Gibbon, 96, watches a Spitfire in the distance as it flies over the Care for Veterans site in Worthing

World War II veteran Len Gibbon, 96, watches a Spitfire in the distance as it flies over the Care for Veterans site in Worthing  

Britons across the nation are commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which marks the official surrender of Germany to the Allies in 1945 (pictured, children celebrating holding paper planes outside their houses in Altrincham)

Britons across the nation are commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which marks the official surrender of Germany to the Allies in 1945 (pictured, children celebrating holding paper planes outside their houses in Altrincham)

Joanna, aged four, waves a Union Jack flag as Royal Navy veteran, Charles Medhurst, 95, walks along his street for a victory parade and his neighbours cheer and clap for the 75th anniversary of VE Day in Greenwich, London

Joanna, aged four, waves a Union Jack flag as Royal Navy veteran, Charles Medhurst, 95, walks along his street for a victory parade and his neighbours cheer and clap for the 75th anniversary of VE Day in Greenwich, London

Dame Joan Collins, whose childhood home was destroyed in the Blitz as she slept in a Tube station, leads the Nation's Toast

Dame Joan Collins, whose childhood home was destroyed in the Blitz as she slept in a Tube station, leads the Nation’s Toast 

Veterans sit outside the Care for Veterans site in Worthing, Sussex, to watch a spitfire flypast to mark the 75th anniversary

Veterans sit outside the Care for Veterans site in Worthing, Sussex, to watch a spitfire flypast to mark the 75th anniversary

Laura Jeffrey, seven, with her face painted in the colours of the Union Jack and eating an ice lolly at a socially-distanced street party in Trevis Road, Southsea, to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day

Laura Jeffrey, seven, with her face painted in the colours of the Union Jack and eating an ice lolly at a socially-distanced street party in Trevis Road, Southsea, to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day

Families sit outside during a socially-distanced street party in Newcastle-under-Lyme on the 75th VE Day anniversary

Families sit outside during a socially-distanced street party in Newcastle-under-Lyme on the 75th VE Day anniversary

After he joined the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in 1940, he was posted to India before moving to Burma. He had just returned from Asia and was at an army camp in Bovington, when news of Germany’s surrender came through. 

But despite the war ending in Europe, Captain Tom has bittersweet memories of VE Day, having returned to the UK to work as a tank instructor while his friends were still fighting in Asia. 

It was another three months until Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. He told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘At the time I was very concerned that all my comrades I had left in Burma were still fighting.’ 

Captain Tom previously said he would be celebrating by having a ‘very peaceful, quiet day, rejoicing the very fact that this did happen so long ago and with so much benefit to everybody’.

The veteran, who was made an honorary colonel to mark his fundraising efforts, added that it is ‘rather sad’ that people will not be able to celebrate the occasion in groups together because of the lockdown.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.