‘Celebrate VE Day 75 this Friday 8 May at home’, that’s the plea from Hertfordshire’s county council, 10 district and borough councils, emergency services and our local NHS.
Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum (LRF) – a partnership of over 60 organisations including the emergency services, local councils, health services and volunteers, which plans, trains and responds to emergencies together – have been working to coordinate the county’s approach to COVID-19.
Darryl Keen, Director of Community Protection, Chief Fire Officer and chair of the strategic coordination group of the LRF, said: “Every organisation in Hertfordshire’s LRF agrees we must ask residents to keep up the fabulous job of social distancing this bank holiday weekend and beyond, while lockdown restrictions remain in place.
“We know it’s not what people would want to do as Friday is a very special date in our history, but we’ve all come so far and we need to continue to stay at home and save lives. We know changes are afoot as we progress through the different stages of dealing with this awful pandemic but nothing has changed yet and as a county we need to keep it up.”
“VE Day represents a matter of national pride and celebration, as well as an opportunity to consider and thank those who fought so bravely for our freedom,” said Assistant Chief Constable Nathan Briant, who is leading Hertfordshire Constabulary’s response to COVID-19. “I fully appreciate that everyone would prefer to celebrate this landmark date with families and friends, but sadly the current situation makes this impossible. It is vital that people continue to adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines at this time. As a community we have come too far to risk any setbacks, and only by continuing our efforts can we hope to save lives and hasten the removal of the restrictions.
“Our officers will be on patrol as usual in parks and open spaces around the county. Their role there is primarily public safety, as we try to reduce the opportunities for the virus to spread. Officers will always seek to engage with people and encourage compliance with the regulations, but where necessary for the benefit of the wider public, we will take enforcement action if required.”
While we will have extra patrols, if you are concerned that you have seen a gathering which contravenes the guidance, we would encourage you to contact the police using our online reporting methods. This will help to relieve some of the pressure on our emergency lines and resources, and allow for a quicker response to urgent 999 calls. We really appreciate your co-operation and would like to thank everyone for their support so far. Our online reporting can be accessed at herts.police.uk/contact or herts.police.uk/report
Linda Haysey, East Herts Council leader, said: “Although of course it’s not how we would have chosen to mark VE Day, there are lots of great ways we can show our appreciation while following the social distancing guidelines.”
The British Legion has created a programme of online events as well as lots of ideas to mark this historic day. See more at https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/remembrance/remembrance-events/ve-day-75
• A live VE Day 75 livestream at 11.15am
• National moments of Remembrance and thanksgiving, including a Two Minute Silence
• A UK-wide singalong to Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again at 9pm
• A VE Day learning pack for children aged 7-14 years
• An evening of memories and music in partnership with the BBC from 8pm on BBC One
This is a contributed article for which we are grateful.
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