Celebrate VE Day with Bury St Edmunds & Beyond

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day with Bury St Edmunds & Beyond...

Friday 8 May 2020 marks 75 years since VE (Victory in Europe) Day when the Second World War came to an end in Europe.

Although we cannot mark this special day as we had planned, a number of virtual events have been created locally and nationally so that we can mark this important day at home.

Bury St Edmunds During WWII

During WWII 3,000 GIs were stationed at RAF Bury St Edmunds at Rougham Airfield. Rougham Control Tower Museum is dedicated to the American Airmen/women who served in the 322nd Bomb Group and the 94th Bomb Group of the ‘The Mighty Eighth’ during WWII.

At Bury St Edmunds Guildhall, the room where the Town Council met was set up in 1938 for use during WWII and became the Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Centre, protecting Suffolk and relaying vital messages to RAF crews at local air bases. It is the only surviving ROC centre in the country.

In nearby Lavenham, RAF Lavenham was the home of the 487th Bombardment Group. The 487th flew 185 missions and more than 6,000 sorties whilst stationed at Lavenham during the Second World War.

Many US airmen congregated in the 15th Century pub The Swan. Now part of The Swan at Lavenham Hotel and Spa (link to listing), it is called The Airmen’s Bar, in honour of the many servicemen from RAF Lavenham and beyond who would come to relax, drink and socialise. 

VE Day Virtual Services at St Edmundsbury Cathedral 

First World War soldier will be symbolically placed under the Norman Tower in Bury St Edmunds. This will serve as a visual reminder of the anniversary. An appropriate musical reflection will be posted on St Edmundsbury Cathedral’s social media channels and its website at 10am on Friday. 

The livestreamed services (via the Cathedral’s Facebook page) that day at 12pm and 5 pm will include prayers specially written for the day. Further information can be found at

VE Commemoration Service at St Mary's Church

St Mary's Church in Bury St Edmunds will be livestreaming a special VE Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration service at 10.45am. Taking place in the Regimental Chapel, you can watch on Facebook at

Help identify members of the Royal Observer Corps

Taken outside their HQ at Bury St Edmunds Guildhall, members of the public are being called upon to identify members of the Number 14 Group of the Royal Observer Corps. 

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Guildhall’s staff want to share the stories of the brave men and women who were based there. From 1939 to 1945, the ROC Operations Room at The Guildhall was staffed 24 hours a day, gathering intelligence from observation posts across the region and relaying it to Fighter Command.

The Royal Observer Corps played a key role in the war saving many lives; made up of civilians working in tracking enemy planes, guiding damaged Allied aircraft and co-ordinating air-raid warnings 

If you can name anyone in the photo, or have stories from the operations room, email Louisa at

CASA VE Day Afternoon Tea

You can celebrate in style and indulge this VE Day thanks to CASA who are delivering special themed afternoon teas! Priced at £12 per person, with delivery locally costing £5 the tea includes finger sandwiches of smoked salmon, egg and cress, cucumber and ham; savouries including sausage roll, cheese straw and cheese scone; a selection of cakes including meringues, sponge, macarons and cheesecake and fruit scones with jam and cream - delicious!

Limited numbers are available for Friday, collection is available from 2pm on Thursday. To book call 01284 701313 between 9am and 5pm Monday - Saturday or email

The Barn Box by Oakes Barn

Oakes Barn are launching there very own 'Barn boxes' to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day. On offer from 7th May to 9th May, the boxes will be delivered to your home free of charge by the Oakes Barn volunteers. Choose from the 'Beer Box' including 8 pints of Moletrap or Silver Adder real ale from Mauldons brewery; the 'Gin Box' including 2 packets of Pipers crisps, 2 packets of Salty Dog nuts, 4 bottles of Fever Tree tonic waters, your choice of gin (200ml) and fresh garnish; the 'Wine Box' including 1 bottle of red or white, 4 cheeses with local chutney, selection of biscuits with butter and fresh red grapes; or the 'Bespoke Box' made up of your favourite products.

Maison Bleue's Collect & Dine

Enjoy a delicious menu lovingly created by Maison Bleue's award-winning chef Pascal Cavernet on Saturday 9th May. The 3-course meal is available for collection for £27.50 per person and includes Jolly Farm asparagus, salmon and smoked salmon rillettes with lemon and tarragon dressing for starter. 

Roasted ballotine of corn fed chicken breast, parsley and chive, Morel mushroom sauce, Gratin Dauphinois with Chantenay carrots and broccoli for main and British strawberry and vanilla crème patissière tartlet for dessert. 

Celebrate with an accompanying bottle of Maison Bleue Champagne £40, Chardonnay Enfants Terribles, Languedoc £25 or Pinot Noir Enfants Terribles, Languedoc £25.

To order email confirming numbers and contact details.

10% off at Javelin

To celebrate VE Day, boutique Javelin is offering an extra 10% off both full price items and sale items! You can enjoy a spot of retail therapy from your sofa throughout the weekend using the code VEDAY10 which is valid until midnight on Sunday 10th May.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral's Picnic for Hope

St Edmundsbury Cathedral is joining many cathedrals across the country by encouraging everyone to join the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’ at home to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, on Friday 8th May.

The Big Picnic for Hope is an opportunity for households to be part of a virtual get together. The project asks people to stay at home, to picnic indoors or in their gardens, and to join friends and families virtually. At the same time as being something fun to take part in with other people around the country, the project offers a unique way to remember heroes who have kept our country safe in the past and those on the new home front. It gives the nation another way of saying thank you for the incredible effort and sacrifice being made by our key workers from carers, delivery personnel, grocery workers and public transport workers to medical researchers and frontline NHS staff. In addition there is an opportunity to recognise that these times are difficult for many people. The aim is to raise £5000 towards The Trussell Trust, a charity supporting a network of foodbanks and helping those in need in the UK, including several of the local Suffolk foodbanks.

People can share their plans and ideas for the Big Picnic for Hope using the hashtag #bigpicnicforhope. On social media people will be able to share and see creative ideas of what to bake, what to make, how to picnic in style. This will help everyone get ready to join together on Friday 8 May to share photos of their picnics and discuss memories and stories of their loved ones, past and present, in a way fitting of the circumstances we are living through.

To join in with the Big Picnic for Hope, find out more, or share your ideas and photos visit See participating cathedral social media and @bigpicnichope on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

The fundraising page can be found here:

Suffolk Virtual VE Day Exhibition

A new online display by Suffolk Archives brings together the many ways in which VE Day was celebrated across the county in 1945.

You can explore photographs, extracts from newspaper articles, and oral history recordings, all brought to life through an interactive map.

 The public are invited to get involved themselves, with an introductory guide to researching your own family’s history during the Second World War, wartime recipes from the archives, or suggestions for how to host your own celebration at home. Visit the virtual exhibition online now.

National Celebrations 

9am - Voices of War – experience Imperial War Museums’ soundscape featuring the recollections of people who witnessed VE Day. Visit and follow IWM on Twitter and Facebook.

11am - The official commemorations will begin with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence.

3pm -  Extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech will recreate the moment peace in Europe was announced 75 years ago and the Prime Minister will speak about the importance of VE Day.

4pm - Enjoy tea and scones (or coffee and cake) on your doorstep - socially distanced and wave to the neighbours!

5.30pm - Get your singing voices at the ready and tune in to Gareth Malone’s #GreatBritishHomeChorus on YouTube for a VE Day special performance.

6pm - We’ll Meet Again for VE Day 75 with Katherine Jenkins. The Royal Albert Hall will host to a very special concert behind closed doors streamed on their YouTube channelSet a reminder to watch live

9pm - Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945.

9.10pm - Join your neighbours on your doorstep to take part in the national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Royal British Legion have created a message board so you can join in to remember, celebrate and honour brave men and women of World War 2 and our Armed Forces community. Leave your message on the virtual messageboard.

For FREE downloadables including make your own bunting, colouring pages for the children, and printable posters for the VE Day celebrations visit For learning packs visit