The Right Worshipful the Mayor of Hereford, Councillor Kath Hey

A message to the residents of Hereford City on the 75th Anniversary of VE Day

Today marks the 75th anniversary of ‘Victory in Europe’ Day. I was hoping to be able to say a few words to you from our historic Town Hall, acknowledging the lives lost and sacrifices made during World War II. Over the last few weeks all of our lives have been changed greatly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. To support the national response, the Town Hall has been closed for many weeks. Instead, I reach out to you in this personal letter.

I know that many plans, including street parties and other significant events, had been made by individuals and communities across Herefordshire, to mark this important occasion in our nation’s history.

Even though we are currently unable to have social gatherings, I know that residents of the City are still determined to commemorate this very important day. They include veterans, serving military and representatives of our many wonderful local organisations. Events with family and friends will now be happening in front gardens and across the internet. Red, white and blue banners and flags will fly with pride.

On the 75th anniversary of VE day, I am minded to remember the contribution made by our very own Canary Girls. The women who worked in the munitions factory at Rotherwas epitomise courage, sacrifice and honour. One of the highlights of my Mayoral Year was presenting commemorative badges to these brave, selfless ladies. We must continue to celebrate with pride the work they did for the war effort.

It strikes me that there is one parallel with the times we are living through now and war time in the 1940’s. Through times of great difficulty, communities pull together and local people help one another in so many different ways. I have been humbled to see how residents have been willing to volunteer to help those in need. Charitable organisations in the city have worked tirelessly to assist the vulnerable and lonely. I hope we will be able to continue with this ‘spirit of togetherness’ beyond the current health crisis.

We are now experiencing such a renewed sense of community. Every Thursday we ‘Clap for Carers’. It is wonderful to see people outside their homes, with their neighbours, supporting those working on the frontline.

For this Bank Holiday weekend, we must follow the governments advice to stay at home and enjoy all of the wonderful programmes, photos, videos and messages that will be playing out over social media and our television screens.

I hope that you are able to commemorate this important day from the safety of your own homes. It will be about sombre reflection but also the positivity of brighter futures ahead.

With all of my best wishes for your safety and good health,

Cllr. Kath Hey