VE day was first celebrated on 8 May 1945 to mark the end of World War II in Europe, with this month marking 72 years since that significant date.
For the residents and staff at Hazelgrove Care Home, part of the Milford Care Group, the occasion was commemorated with a 1940’s style singer, period fancy dress hats, Union Jack decorations and traditional afternoon tea. The event provided a talking point between residents, with many of them sharing their personal wartime stories and memories with each other.
Jean McGrath, 86, and resident at Hazelgrove care home in Nottingham, shared her memories of World War II being declared when she was just 14-years-old: “It was a frightening time. I was only at school but the women had to help the men whilst they were away and we all had to pull our weight.
“I can remember when it was all over – everyone was dancing and singing in the streets, people were even dancing on the tanks because the war had finished and everyone was going mad to celebrate!”
Eric Filsell, 94, another resident at the Nottingham-based care home, who signed up for the army when he was just 16 reminisced: “I had been signed up for just a fortnight when the War broke out. I saw the London Blitz, which was just terrible, and I lost brothers who were also serving in the army.
“I can remember when we returned home by road, and all our mothers and fathers were waiting for us. Days like this (VE Day), are important as it educates you on what happened and it makes people remember.”
Rebecca Godber, Activities Co-ordinator at Hazelgrove Care Home, said: “Events like this are good for residents like Eric, Jean and those who remember the war. A lot of residents have some memory of the War as it was such a significant event within their generation, and they’re the ones that kept the country going.
“We like to host themed events to celebrate important dates like this and to give the residents the recognition they deserve, and for those who can’t remember the war, it’s still an opportunity to do something different and celebrate some British pride.”
The care home frequently hosts activity days and books entertainment for its residents, with plans for a zoo, singers and other forms of entertainment to visit the care home over the next few months.