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Havering residents celebrate VE Day 75th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 15:00 11 May 2020

Second World War veteran Ken Hay talks about his wartime experiences to residents in River Drive, Upminster. Picture: Mike Jones

Second World War veteran Ken Hay talks about his wartime experiences to residents in River Drive, Upminster. Picture: Mike Jones

Residents across Havering celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE Day in style.

Belle and Sophia Dance held a cake sale in Harold Wood on VE Day.  Picture: Lia DanceBelle and Sophia Dance held a cake sale in Harold Wood on VE Day. Picture: Lia Dance

People have sent us numerous photos showing how they marked the milestone on Friday (May 8), commemorating the end of the Second World War.

Despite the coronavirus outbreak restricting any large gatherings, the borough’s residents managed to hold street parties while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

The day’s events included veteran Ken Hay give a talk to residents in River Drive, Upminster on his extraordinary wartime experiences.

Ken served as a private in the Essex Regiment but was captured by the Nazis and sent to work in a coal mine in Poland.

He was involved in the Long March to Freedom, in which 80,000 prisoners from Nazi camps were forced to walk more than 1,000 miles.

They marched in freezing temperatures until they were liberated just south of Berlin by the Russian army in April 1945.

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Elsewhere, sisters Sophia and Belle Dance decided to mark VE Day with a cake sale outside their home in Harold Wood.

The girls, eight and six, baked and bagged up cakes, scones and other treats and helped mum Lia decorate their house red, white and blue.

They raised £170 which Lia said will go towards cutlery and kitchen equipment for staff on the Covid-19 and cancer wards at Queen’s Hospital.

Lia added: “I am so proud of my daughters. They are special little girls with hearts of gold and we can now make some nurses feel a little bit better by delivering them something they really need.”

Paul Handley, of Kenilworth Avenue, Harold Park, organised a garden street party and both he and wife Louise captured the VE Day spirit by wearing period dress.

They were joined in the celebrations by other residents along the street and he said: “Our road really pulled together to do this.”

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell, whose father Frederick served in the RAF during the Second World War, said the armed forces “have a special place in my heart”.

“I salute all those brave men and women in our town who lived through those war years and played their part in helping us win through, defeat the evil of Nazi Germany and give future generations the freedom we enjoy today.”


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