VE Day 75: Mayor of Newham calls on people to join Dame Vera Lynn in national sing-a-long

A VE Day party in Baxter Road, Custom House, in 1945. Picture: Newham Archive and Local Studies

A VE Day party in Baxter Road, Custom House, in 1945. Picture: Newham Archive and Local Studies - Credit: Archant

Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz has encouraged people to follow the lead of the borough’s very own “forces sweetheart” Dame Vera Lynn and mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day with a rousing chorus of the singer’s most famous song We’ll Meet Again.

Newham's mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz. Picture: LBN

Newham's mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz. Picture: LBN - Credit: Rokhsana Fiaz

A national singalong of the wartime classic will be taking place after The Queen addresses the nation at 9pm today (May 8), the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945 to signal the end of the Second World War in Europe.

Dame Vera was born in Thackeray Road, East Ham, in 1917. She lived in nearby Ladysmith Avenue from 1921 to 1938 and has a Close named after her in Forest Gate.

She achieved national treasure status when British servicemen named her their favourite musical performer during the Second World War.

Mayor Fiaz said: “Dame Vera was the local girl who boosted the morale of the nation and those who served during the darkest days of the Second World War.

Dame Vera Lynn

Dame Vera Lynn - Credit: Archant

“She lifted the spirit of millions then and she can do so again. I invite everyone to join the national singalong to mark one of the most significant moments in our history.”

Earlier in the day there was a more somber moment of reflection and remembrance with a national two-minute silence at 11am.

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The mayor added: “We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to those who served in combat and on the home front during the Second World War from Britain and the Commonwealth.

“The war involved 100 million people from more than 30 countries, and was the deadliest so far in human history with fatalities estimated from 70 to 85 million, highlighting the human cost of war.

“In 1945, following six years of conflict, people celebrated Victory in Europe with joyous parades and street parties.

“This year, because of the current threat we face from Covid-19, we won’t be able to celebrate like it’s 1945 on our streets, so we’ll need to mark this special anniversary from our homes.”

The nation is being encouraged to mark VE Day 75 at home by staging 1940s-style afternoon tea parties indoors or by making VE Day bunting to hang from doors and windows.

All UK historical records available on will be free for the public until Sunday, May 10 giving people the opportunity to uncover the personal stories of the Second World War and the roles their families played.

The mayor has also reflected on the celebrations in a conversation with deputy lieutenant John Barber, The Queen’s representative in Newham.

It will be broadcast on Newham Council’s online platforms today (May 8).

She added: “We are in the middle of one of the most challenging times since the Second World War. Now more than ever it is important to come together, as communities did 75 years ago, to salute people’s heroic service to the nation, and to remain hopeful that soon, in Dame Vera’s words, we’ll meet again.”