VE Day carnival rearranged for May 2021

Photo of a 'Welcome to Bradley Stoke' planter decorated for VE Day 75.
A ‘Welcome to Bradley Stoke’ planter decorated for VE Day 75.

By Sara Messenger, Bradley Stoke Carnival Committee

Although our VE Day celebrations this year were not what we had planned, it was reassuring to see that the ‘Blitz Spirit’ that sustained so many through the darkest days of World War II continued to keep us buoyed in our own dark times.

Despite the coronavirus lockdown being in full effect, Bradley Stoke was able to tenderly celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which marked the end of World War II in Europe.

Through our Facebook page (@BradleyStokeCarnival2020) we signed up to The Big Neighbourhood VE Day 75 Family Festival at Home and also the 9pm doorstep singalong of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again and were able to provide many children’s resources which proved very popular.

Many homes had displayed their bunting and the children’s beautifully coloured posters in their windows, and in the evening the heartfelt, if not always tuneful, rendition of We’ll Meet Again could be heard across the Stokes.

Photo of a doorstep VE Day party.
One Bradley Stoke family’s lockdown-style VE Day celebration

Our Close also hosted an afternoon tea party, although I was the only one who bought tea and cake, an error that was quickly rectified!

Bradley Stoke in Bloom of course decorated their planters and roundabouts and Bradley Stoke Radio hosted a five-hour VE Day special.

We were very grateful to receive loans/grants from both Bradley Stoke Town Council and South Gloucestershire Council to provide you all with VE Day celebrations, which we still intend to do, so we have moved the date of the carnival to Saturday 8th May 2021.

We are a small committee and would welcome a few more members – no experience is necessary only a cheerful ‘can do’ attitude.

If you have any stories to share, are interested in having a stall, having your youth group take part, or are interested in joining our committee, please email us at

In 2021, we hope to recreate our planned day, which will include:

  • VE Day poster competition for schools & youth groups
  • Memories board, where people can share photos and stories of their families involvement in the 1945 VE Day and World War II
  • Parade with all the groups dressed in theme and the youth groups displaying their posters. All children in parade would get a token of thanks. Trophy for best costumes
  • Themed ‘street party’ tea, Lindy Hop dancing and wartime songs
  • Vintage vendors, e.g. sweet shop / ice cream seller / bar
  • Old-fashioned games, e.g. tug of war, coconut shy, quoits, three-legged race, egg & spoon, beacon relay, with prizes for competitive games (a tin of Spam!)
  • Vintage fitness session, Punch and Judy show, vintage bus rides, hovercraft
  • Screening of episodes of the Dad’s Army series and the 2016 film Dad’s Army
  • Stalls decorated to stay in theme (community group / charity stalls are free)
  • VE Day themed costumed players available for photos

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2020 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 25). The magazine is delivered FREE, nine times a year, to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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