Town pays tribute to its war heroes at VE Day event

HEROES REMEMBERED: Wreath-laying was part of the VE Day celebrations in Washington. Pic: Stuart Lauderdale.
HEROES REMEMBERED: Wreath-laying was part of the VE Day celebrations in Washington. Pic: Stuart Lauderdale.
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A TOWN paid its respects to its war heroes as it joined in VE anniversary celebrations.

The streets of Washington Village were lined with around 1,000 people as its branch of the Royal British Legion hosted events to marked 70 years since the end of the Second World War.

PAYING RESPECTS: The VE Day celebrations in Washington. Pic: Stuart Lauderdale.

PAYING RESPECTS: The VE Day celebrations in Washington. Pic: Stuart Lauderdale.

The celebrations began with a service at Holy Trinity Church attended by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant Frank Major and the legion’s Northumbria County chairman Keith Laws.

They then took part in a parade which passed the old Post Office to the village green, where Mr Major gave a speech about the importance of the anniversary.

Cornflowers, which symbolise remembrance and joy, were laid at the war memorial,

Two children and a teacher from 22 schools from the town were then presented with a glass plaque to mark the occasion, with the mementoes commissioned by the branch and Sunderland City Council.

It was important to commemorate VE Day, because that generation has almost gone.

Malcolm Pickering, Royal British Legion

Commemorative mugs were also given to members of the Scouting movement, Army cadets, members of the choir at Holy Trinity Church and buglers.

A reception was later held at the Cross Keys, with a street party at the Black Bush, where a quartet of singers performed songs from the 1940s.

Malcolm Pickering, secretary of the Washington branch and vice chairman of the Northumbria County branch, said: “It was important to commemorate VE Day, because that generation has almost gone.

“It was also a world-changing event and the declaration of peace in Europe has remained so since and it also saw the creation of the United Nation, Nato and the EU.

“It has also shown that Europe now talks first and that war is the last straw.”

Also in attendance at the event was the legion’s county parade marshal Robert Laws and county membership services officer David Bell, with the Northumbria County Standard and Newbiggin Standard put on display.

Students from Washington School interviewed Val Dunn, who was a child when VE Day was declared, and Robert Douglas, 90, as they recalled memories from the time.