People across Spalding are being urged to celebrate VE Day in their gardens by the chair and standard bearer of the town’s Royal British Legion branch.
Graham Hewitt is still looking to ceremonially dip the standard at 3pm on Friday May 8, the time 75 years ago Winston Churchill announced Germany’s surrender to the nation and the end of World War Two in Europe.
The ambulance driver is hoping to broadcast dipping the standard online and is urging everyone in the town to be holding a garden party that afternoon.
Graham says the legion would also like to see plenty of pictures of families in their gardens marking the event on social media and in the local media.
Nationally the Royal British Legion is asking people to get on board with its Virtual Tea Party through its Facebook page.
It follows all the planned commemorations being cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the need for social distancing including a planned parade through Spalding and service at St Mary and St Nicolas Church.
Graham said: “I’d been looking forward to dipping the standard and despite everything that’s happening we still want to celebrate and commemorate VE Day.
“I’m involved with the ambulance service so I know what’s going on in the world, but it would be great for everybody to come together while staying apart by being in their gardens at the same time.
“We want people to come out in their gardens and clap, take pictures and celebrate the moment.
“We’ve spoken to various organisations, including the police, and they’re happy for us to promote the celebration so long as it’s safe and we feel people partying in their gardens will be perfect.
“I’m looking to join standard bearers across the country who are looking to dip theirs at 3pm in our own homes or possibly on the street outside with people keeping their distance.”
Graham has also outlined how he and the Royal British Legion are already looking to help veterans during the current COVID-19 crisis.
He’s been ringing every member at least once a week to check they’re ok and the legion has provided food parcels to them via his links with the ambulance service and through Jan Whitbourn.
The parcels have largely been thanks to generous donations from local businesses.
Graham said: “On behalf of the Royal British Legion, the Ambulance Service and through Jan I’d like to say a huge thank you all the businesses who have donated food for the food parcels.”
The Spalding branch of the Royal British Legion are also appealing for any businesses to help kit out their new office.
The group was due to move out of its Spring Gardens base to the former Biggadyke’s bike shop on Westlode Street on the day the lockdown was announced.
That’s obviously not happened yet, but they’re asking any businesses with spare equipment to put some aside.
The group are particularly in need of a small desk, a small foldable table, foldable chairs and a tea urn.
“If anybody has these they could give us they would be welcome for our new base when we can move in,” Graham said.