Pubs and bars across the UK are calling on their local communities to raise a glass on Friday to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, as part of a nationwide toast at 3pm.
It comes after the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) called on its members, who represent over 20,000 pubs and 90% of the beer brewed in Britain, to join the celebrations virtually, in light of the Government-imposed national shutdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
At 3pm on Friday 8 May, publicans up and down the country will ring their pub bells and raise a glass in honour of war veterans, inspiring their local communities to do the same.
The national toast will recognise the massive sacrifice and courage of the heroes of WWII, marking 75 years since the end of the war.
Kicking off the toasts will be Captain Tom Moore’s local pub, The Bell in Marston Moretaine, which will be celebrating the country’s much-loved war veteran.
Publican Karl Clark said: “Captain Tom has become a national hero for his recent sponsored walk but we want to make sure we also recognise his achievements during WWII and raise a glass to him and his fellow veterans.”
Mark Dawson from The Ship in Langstone, Portsmouth is dropping bottles of beer on his neighbours’ doorsteps so they can still enjoy a toast from their driveways.
He said: “We couldn’t let this historic day pass without acknowledgement. Just like we clap for today’s heroes every Thursday, it’s vital we recognise the heroes of our history.
“Even though our original plans aren’t possible now, this will be our way of raising a glass and saying thank you to our veterans.”
John Locke from The Two Tubs in Bury won’t be deterred by the lockdown as he plans to lead a socially-distanced toast with Old Fusilier groups outside his pub, while 13 Joseph Holt publicans will honour the occasion by each reading a line from the 2018 war poem A cry for peace around the world, written by Bruno Peek, The Pageant Master of VE Day.
The BBPA is encouraging the whole nation to follow the lead of their local pubs and raise a pint to our heroic war veterans this Friday at 3pm.
Emma McClarkin, CEO of the BBPA, said: “This is one of the most challenging times the pub and beer industry has faced and the effects of the lockdown will be particularly stark on VE Day when so many pubs had planned patriotic celebrations for their communities.
“It’s vital we come together and continue to find ways to keep that community spirit strong until pubs are in a position to safely re-open.
“I look forward to raising a glass to our veterans and heroes in our pubs as soon as we are open again.”