Peeps into the Past: A look back at VE Day 75 years ago

By Chris Shepheard   |   Peeps into the Past   |
Friday 8th May 2020 9:23 am
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A VE Day party in Farnham Park

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"LET this day of simple celebration be a symbol that our children will have a lasting memory of a great and honourable victory achieved through the united spirit and sacrifices of freedom, loving peoples,” opens the souvenir programme devised by the Farnham Victory Celebrations Committee to mark Victory in Europe in May 1945.

The nation’s community celebrations took place on June 8, 1946, a year after Victory in Europe – and because of the lockdown, there will be delayed events this year, too, as we celebrate the 75th anniversary.

In Farnham, there were a whole week of events held to celebrate the defeat of Nazi Germany and Japan.

Chief among these celebrations was a Young Folks’ Jamboree and Entertainments at Farnham Park on June 8, 1946, kicking off with school-children’s sports, Punch and Judy, a clown, musical chairs competition, ‘physical training display’ by boys of the Farnham Grammar School, a dancing display by pupils of the Castle Theatre’s Rega School of Dancing, The Williams Brothers in their Comedy Turn, community singing, and culminating with a grand bonfire and firework display.

The fun didn’t stop there, however, with ‘Dancing on the Green’ following immediately after the jamboree – complete with a fair, sideshows, roundabouts, dodgems and ‘teas for the public’ provided by Messrs Gale & Sons.

Other events during the week included a Grand Sports Meeting at the Memorial Sports Ground, a Victory Ball and a Grand Dance at the Memorial Hall, an Old Folks’ Supper and Entertainment in the British Restaurant in Union Road, and band concerts in Gostrey Meadow – including a performance by the Band of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps.

There was also two Bowls Drives at Brightwells Recreation Ground, tournaments at Brightwells Tennis Courts, and free use of the tennis courts and South Street swimming baths “by kind permission of Farnham Urban District Council”.

Peeps is lucky to have a copy of this programme courtesy of Hazel and Nigel Parcell, and some photographs of the area’s VE Day celebrations are published on these pages (including the photographed party in Farnham Park) – but we would love more images of what must have been quite a joyous week.

I wonder, too, if we will have cause for another Victory Celebration to mark the 75th anniversary of that joyous ‘Young Folks’ Jamboree’ at Farnham Park in 2021?

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