Rochdale borough celebrates VE Day
Date published: 11 May 2020
Leighton Avenue in Smithybridge had the bunting out for VE Day
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Afternoon tea and social distancing street parties were the order of the day on Friday 8 May, as the Rochdale borough celebrated the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – the day then-Prime Minister of Britain Winston Churchill announced that World War Two was over.
The residents of Mountside Close in Rochdale had an 'end of drive/social distance' street party, as did those on Buxton Crescent (video below) – and one street, Viking Street, near Spotland Stadium was even adorned with bunting created for the original VE Day.
Cubs and Beavers from Wardle Scout Group and Smithybridge Scout Group held an afternoon tea in their front gardens, supported by their parents.
They baked scones and cakes, made sandwiches, set up tables and then cleared up afterwards. The young people rounded off the day’s adventure with a film of their choice and a sleep ‘not in their own bed’.
Group Scout Leader, Norma Brandon said: “The reaction to the day has been very heart-lifting. Many whole streets joined in – in their own gardens – as we’d asked the cubs to invite their neighbours, bunting was made and put up to decorate houses.
“Many neighbours admitted they would have celebrated the 75th anniversary of the ending of the war in Europe with their own friends and families, but due to lockdown we had to think of a different way to mark the occasion.
“We’ve had some great feedback and everyone’s spirits have been lifted. It has been a very special day and one that young people will remember for the rest of their lives.”
One parent posted: "We have had a wonderful day too. Huge thank you to the Scout Group for all the time and effort put into organising. It's been wonderful seeing my Cub so excited and motivated and this totally rubbed off on the rest of us."
Vintage Worx volunteers put together 50 special VE Day afternoon tea boxes for Rochdale residents who are socially isolating due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Despite coronavirus restrictions, councillors Rachel Massey and Wendy Cocks along with Tracie Powers and her daughter, Sam, who run the Vintage Worx community hub in Falinge Park were determined to celebrate the day.
Normally, the Falinge Park community tea rooms are bustling with local people taking part in craft, confectionary and gardening groups, which provide much-needed support and social interaction for people who live on their own, are carers, or are over 60.
Whilst the tea rooms are currently closed following lockdown restrictions, the community hub has kept in touch with those that attend groups through WhatsApp and regular Zoom meet-ups.
Tracie said: "Lockdown is tough for a lot of people. Those of us who live alone, or who have to socially shield, meaning that they can't leave their homes at all, are some of the hardest hit. We'd planned so much to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day that we couldn't just let the day go by without doing something to reflect and celebrate with our community.
"We came up with the idea of hosting a Zoom quiz and delivering afternoon tea boxes to those hit hardest by the current situation."
Each decorated box contained pie, sandwiches, cakes and scones and was delivered by the team with help from local councillor Wendy Cocks, Spotland Methodist Church's Leonie O'Donoghue, and local resident Julie Waller.
Jane Denton, who received one of the afternoon tea boxes, said: “This is the most wonderful idea. It’s so thoughtful; I can’t thank Vintage Worx enough. This isolation is depressing; it’s such a difficult time. This afternoon tea has really cheered me up, for you to come out dressed up and to have thought to do this. Thank you.”
Spotland and Falinge Councillor, Rachel Massey said: “Many residents live in social isolation every day, and with lockdown even more are having to isolate from loved ones and family.
“Like a lot of people locally, I've been working with charities to try and best help those in need from a distance. I heard about this scheme through Action Together which has kindly funded the Zoom subscription and provided tablets for those that needed them.
“It was community spirit that got us through the war years; it will get us through this virus, and it has resonated so much as we remembered those who fought so bravely for our freedom 75 years ago."
Action Together is a charity that covers Rochdale, Oldham and Tameside. During the coronavirus crisis it has provided support and funded more than £18,000 of projects including: emergency supplies for vulnerable people, PPE for volunteers, online wellbeing support, food banks and meals for NHS staff.
If you would like to volunteer or donate, visit: actiontogether.org.uk/rochdale for more information.
The Bring Me Sunshine charity, set up to provide entertainment and music therapy for people living in care homes with Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease, visited Belvoir Residential Home in Littleborough to celebrate VE Day.
Singer Kelly Tracey, who founded the charity in 2019, visited the local home performing war time songs and old favourites for residents.
She said: “These conditions do not just steal our memories, they create confusion, sometimes hearing and sight impairment, combined with anxiety. Our performances and shows are fun and offer a great sensory experience and we strive to include everyone.
“Music truly is a magical gift. With each performance we see amazing transformations. Loved ones who now spend their days quiet and withdrawn due to these conditions, suddenly come alive and reminisce through the power of music. The joy this creates between families is amazing.
“Our performances now enable families to come together in a safe environment to create wonderful new memories with loved ones who now find it very difficult in social situations.
During lockdown, Bring Me Sunshine has provided homes with live performances through windows where safe as well as streaming live performances online using Facebook, Zoom and Skype.
The charity has also been working with local food banks and support groups to distribute food donations and PPE to homes.
VE Day, 8 May 2020, on Buxton Crescent, Rochdale
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