Pictures: VE Day celebrations across Newham

Students at Eastlea Community School get into the VE Day spirit

Students at Eastlea Community School get into the VE Day spirit - Credit: Archant

Generations of Britons united in celebrating the 70th anniversary of VE Day over the weekend.

Victory in Europe Day marked the end of the Second World War on the continent and the British Isles. By the end, more than 60 million people – civilians and soldiers – had died in the six-year conflict.

Remembering those who gave their lives and reliving the happy news that war was over were both those who were alive to see it for themselves and today’s youngsters from across the borough.

Pupils from Eastlea Community School put on their best Union Jack hats and danced the evening away as their younger counterparts would have done on the same day 70 years before them.

Teacher and organiser Leilee Shirani said: “We chose to do this to make learning about VE Day really hands on so that the students could get a sense of what it must have felt like at the time.”

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Pensioners marked the occasion with an indoor street party at Stanley Holloway Court sheltered accommodation, Canning Town.

Spam sandwiches and wine gums were on offer – recreating the foods available at the time, as remembered by tenant Catherine Miller, 88, who was 18 when VE Day came.

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Organiser and location manager Jayne Lewis said it was important to mark the occasion, adding: “In the next 10 years, how many people are going to remembering this day in the same way.”

A street party was organised by Newham Bookshop to mark the launch of Duncan Barratt and Nuala Calvi’s Second World War novel, The Girls Who Went To War, with traditional 1940s drinks and a specially-baked VE Day cake.

Friday afternoon saw a national two minute silence observed, with many in Newham pausing at 3pm – exactly 70 years from the moment when Winston Churchill announced in a radio broadcast that war in Europe was over.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said it was “a time to reflect, remember and be proud, adding: “The East End bore the brunt of the Blitz during the war and we should also remember those who lost their lives in these raids.”

If you missed the celebrations, there’s still time to get involved. An exhibition about the end of the Second World War is running at Stratford Library until Sunday, May 31.

On Friday a themed tea dance is being held at the Old Town Hall from 1pm. See for more information.

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