People celebrate VE Day in Manchester 08051945 CREDIT PA
WWII

VE Day 75 Commemorations To Be 'Scaled Back' Over Coronavirus

The Culture Secretary said the "key priority" is to protect the "health and wellbeing" of Second World War veterans due to take part.

People celebrate VE Day in Manchester 08051945 CREDIT PA

Events to commemorate 75 years since VE Day in May will be "scaled back" due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Government has announced.

As part of the new plans, the veterans' procession down the Mall in central London and events in St James' Park will no longer go ahead.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the decision was made to protect the "health and wellbeing" of Second World War veterans taking part.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we have to scale back our VE Day commemorations," Mr Dowden said.

"Veterans always have and will be at the centre of our plans and our key priority right now is to protect their health and wellbeing."

The early May bank holiday has been moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to coincide with the anniversary.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said "revised plans" will be released in "due course".

Events in Scotland to mark 75 years since Victory in Europe Day are also being rescheduled.

While in Wales, VE Day 75 events have also been postponed, including a military parade in Cardiff Bay and a National Service of Thanksgiving at Llandaff Cathedral. 

Prime Minister Winston Churchill gives his famous V for Victory sign to a crowd of 50,000 from balcony of Ministry of Health on VE Day 08051945 CREDIT PA
Sir Winston Churchill gives his famous V for Victory sign on VE Day (Picture: PA).

“In these unprecedented circumstances, I hope that the public will understand why we have made this difficult decision," the Culture Secretary added.

"I hope they will join us in saying thank you to the generation who gave so much on May 8th. We will ensure that we mark this important event and will provide an update on plans shortly.”

The department said it is continuing to plan to commemorate VJ Day 75 on 15 August which marks Victory over Japan and the end of the Second World War.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said cafes, pubs, restaurants must close from Friday night. 

Cover image: People celebrate VE Day on the streets of Manchester in May 1945 (Picture: PA).