Landmark VE75 celebration in Harborough has been cancelled

The cancellation will apply to all events scheduled up to May 31 - including the Churches Together Good Friday Service and the Spring Arts and Craft Fayre

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 10:20 am
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 10:22 am

The landmark VE75 celebration in Market Harborough has been cancelled, it’s just been announced.

Harborough District Council was planning to stage an all-day spectacular in The Square and town centre on Friday May 8 to mark 75 years since the end of the war in Europe.

But the council has now been forced to call it off as the local and nationwide crackdown on the coronavirus crisis continues.

VE Day celebrations have been cancelled.

The local authority has also moved to cancel all council-led events on The Square “as a precautionary measure due to the coronavirus (Covid-19)”.

The cancellation will apply to all events scheduled up to May 31 - including the Churches Together Good Friday Service and the Spring Arts and Craft Fayre.

Cllr Phil King, leader of Harborough District Council, said: “In line with guidance from the Government around social distancing for non-essential activities, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel all events on the Square until 31 May 2020.

“We will review future events and continue to monitor the situation, taking the necessary steps in line with government guidelines to keep everyone safe in the district.”

He added: “We are particularly saddened that the we have had to cancel the VE75 event and thank the Harborough at War team for all their hard work to this point.

“It may be that the National Commemorations take place at a later date in which case we will review our plans.”

The Farmers Market lined up for Thursday April 2 on The Square is still set to go ahead.

Cllr King added: “Subject to trader availability and government guidance, the Farmers Market will go ahead.

“Those traders and the indoor Market are key to ensuring that fresh food is available to residents.”

The council has set up a dedicated web page, with the latest coronavirus information, at www.harborough.gov.uk/coronavirus

Meanwhile, Bruno Peek, the Pageantmaster spearheading VE Day 75 events all over the country, said: “I am afraid that the terrible Coronavirus emergency and consequent Government guidance means that we must advise participants to cancel or postpone the majority of the VE Day 75 community celebrations due to take place on the bank holiday weekend of 8th – 10th May.

“It is right and proper that people should be kept safe and healthy.

“My sincere thanks to everyone who registered their events and were looking forward to celebrating VE Day 75.”

He added: “I know how disappointed you will be that these cannot now go ahead as planned.

“However, we are still encouraging solo pipers and town criers to continue to mark the occasion from a safe and suitable location.

“I am hoping that all the events you have carefully planned can be moved to the weekend of 15th – 16th August when we will be able to celebrate VE Day and VJ Day, both momentous points in our history.

“I am in ongoing communication with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport regarding this and hope to be able to give you more news in the coming days.”