THE chairman of a council serving 605,000 residents and numerous military bases across England’s largest county has revealed an ambition to get events planned to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day rescheduled.

A series of events, which had been due to start on March 30 with a concert involving more than 400 children from schools across the county at Harrogate Convention Centre, had been planned to celebrate the formal acceptance by the Allies of the Second World War of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of armed forces on May 8, 1945.

The concert was set to include music from the County Youth Choir, County Youth Symphony Orchestra, County Youth Big Band and the Army Band, Catterick as well as readings and drama.

Other major events aiming to bring generations together and and consider lessons for the future that had been planned to mark the milestone included an evening in support of The ABF The Soldiers Charity on May 9 at Thirsk Racecourse, a military parade at Ripon Racecourse the day before and a service at Ripon Cathedral with Archbishop John Sentamu.

The county council’s service pupils’ champions had been due to host two large children’s street parties on May 7 for schools in the Ripon and Catterick areas, with Armed forces veterans and serving personnel expected to be involved.

Later in May, events showcasing memories of VE Day were set take place in several libraries, including Scarborough, Selby and Skipton.

Councillor Jim Clarke, who is now due to continue his term as the authority’s chairman until a full council meeting can be held, said it was particularly disappointing the events had been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic as children had undertaken much work for the celebrations.

He said he has encouraged schools to help create a video archive of reminiscences of those who lived through the war and had supported Harrogate High School with funding from his locality grant to enable students to have the experience of conducting, recording and editing video interviews, beginning with Arek Hersh, a survivor of Auschwitz concentration camp, and Sheila Pantin, who was involved in the British liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April, 1945.

He said: “We still need to remember the anniversary when it comes around on May 8 to give thanks for the sacrifices the people of North Yorkshire made. I am intending in holding concerts and street parties later in the year.

“It is not just about celebrating something that happened 75 years ago. The theme for Holocaust Day this year was Stand Together.

“This current crisis has shown the true grit of the people of North Yorkshire and how, once again, they have come together to fight adversity.”