Mark VE Day with Sidmouth’s Big Sing

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce outside Potbury's VE window display. Ref shs 5843-19-15AW. Picture: Ale

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce outside Potbury's VE window display. Ref shs 5843-19-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Throngs of people are expected to fill Sidmouth’s Market Place tomorrow (Saturday, May 9) to sing and celebrate the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day.

The chamber of commerce is organising the Big Sing and hopes the occasion will emulate scenes of joy across the nation in 1945 – which was dubbed ‘the biggest party this country has ever seen’.

Residents are being urged to don 1940s outfits or red, white and blue colours for the celebrations, which will begin at 5.30pm.

Memory Lane community singing group will be leading the singers with a repertoire of old favourites, including Don’t Dilly Dally and Run Rabbit Run.

The five-piece band includes vocals from Jane Hindle and Lesley Schlaefli.

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Paul Boeree joins them on vocals and also plays guitar and banjo, with Phil Hargreaves on ukulele bass and Chris Adams playing drums and percussion.

The group will be followed by Sidmouth Town Band from 6.10pm, with Val Howels.

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Here, the Dam-Busters March will be followed by more wartime classics, including There Will Always Be an England, White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.

People of all ages and abilities are welcome to join in with the singing.

Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce secretary Sylvia Brownlee said: “Our idea is to emulate Piccadilly in May 1945 with throngs of people singing, waving flags and having fun.”

She added that song sheets will be available for participants.

Organisers said Sidmouth has always proved it can turn out for a community event - with the wonderful success of street parties to celebrate the royal wedding and Diamond Jubilee – and they hope this will be no exception.

A spokesperson for the chamber said: “We need lots of people and we need lots of noise.

“The quality of your voice is not important, just come along.

“It is also important to mark the contribution and sacrifice that our armed forces made then and continue to make today.”

People who turn out to join in the community concert are also being encouraged to stay on in the town and enjoy food and a drink in one of the many nearby restaurants and pubs.

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