PARADES and street parties may not be possible, but there are still plenty of ways to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day in County Durham.

In recent months the nation’s focus has been on the coronavirus pandemic, but Durham County Council recognises there is still a strong desire among residents to mark this important milestone.

Staff and volunteers at Durham County Record Office (DCRO) and the DLI Collection have been working with the council’s communications and marketing team to deliver online activities and content to help people commemorate VE Day at home.

A special webpage – – has been created to bring together links to online exhibitions by DRCO and the Friends of the DLI, as well as oral history clips and ideas on how to make the most of the day at home.

Today, shortly before the two minutes silence at 11am, a recording of a bugler performing The Last Post will be shared on the council’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Featuring an overlay of North-East soldiers serving in the Second World War, the video will provide a poignant way for residents to reflect on those who fought for a free world.

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The DCRO exhibition, compiled by military historian Steve Shannon – called We have come through: Remembering VE Day 1945 – features photographs, newspaper articles and other first-hand accounts from the time. This can be found at, where free VE Day schools resources have also been made available.

In addition to this, Steve has helped to produce a series of videos in which he gives an insight into some of the key images from the exhibition. These will be shared on the council’s social media pages and YouTube channel.

Durham County Council is also supporting the Government’s VE Day 75 at home campaign, which encourages people to celebrate the anniversary at home or in their care setting then share their activities online with the hashtag #VEDay75. A dedicated toolkit, including branded bunting, posters, colouring pictures and social media graphics can be downloaded, along with a guide on how to plan your party, featuring recipes, music suggestions and more.

At 9pm tonight, a UK-wide singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime classic We’ll Meet Again will be broadcast on BBC One. Organised by the Royal British Legion, its aim is to bring people together virtually to honour the Second World War generation.

Links to all national resources and activities, can be found at

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for transformation, tourism and tourism, said: “It’s such a shame the VE Day events originally planned cannot take place. However, there are still lots of ways we can mark the milestone at home and celebrate this important anniversary together virtually.

“Not only is this an opportunity to honour those who fought for our freedom, but activities such as these can be beneficial for our mental health; providing us with a different focus and a shared experience during a difficult time.”

The 75th anniversary of VE Day comes at a time when the country is facing its biggest challenge since the Second World War. This has led the Royal British Legion and many other individuals and organisations to draw comparison between the wartime spirit of solidarity and the voluntary work that's underway right now in communities across the UK.

Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, the council’s Cabinet member for adults and health services, said: “Just as during the war, communities across County Durham have rallied around to support one another and shield the vulnerable. This is a challenge that has been made all the greater by social distancing, but I would like to emphasise the importance of continuing to follow the latest guidelines. By staying apart now we can save lives, reduce pressure on the NHS and help to ensure no-one is missing when we can come together again.”

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