Back in 1995 parishioners from St Clare's celebrated the 50th anniversary of V.E. Day in style!
Our parish wasn't around on the actual V.E. Day - St Clare's only opened in 1971 - but the 50th anniversary provided a great opportunity for us to honour the war dead and to celebrate the victory. Rosa Malloy, who helped to organise the anniversary celebrations in 1995, shares her memories here:
"Two former school friends, one a St Clare’s parishioner, and I were discussing V.E. Day 50th Anniversary celebrations. They had each lost a brother in the forces and were upset because they had never had the chance to mourn as their bodies had never been recovered. This must have happened to many families.
I got permission from Fr Lakeland to organise a Memorial and Thanksgiving Mass followed by a Jacob’s Join for the 50th Anniversary. This was held on the nearest Sunday at the 11 o’clock Mass. A list of relatives and friends who had been killed in the war was collected, including their age and branch of the armed forces. These were hand written on a large sheet for display in the porch. The names were each put on a handmade poppy.
The church was decorated with beautiful flowers and was packed to overflowing. Many veterans wore regimental blazers and medals. Mass started with two verses of ‘Fill our hearts’ to the tune of ‘Ode to Joy’. At the Bidding Prayers the list of names was read out – veterans had been asked to read them but it was too much for them.
During the singing of ‘Jesus, remember me’ at the Offertory Procession the children carried the poppies to the altar where they were placed in containers. The atmosphere was profoundly moving.
The rest of the Mass was in the more joyful theme of Thanksgiving for Peace, ending with the last two verses of ‘Fill our hearts’, sung with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately at that time it was not possible to take photographs of the service.
All then moved to the hall for the celebrations. Frank Rogerson had put up trimmings which, with balloons, festooned the ceiling. There was a wonderful Jacob’s Join. Entertainment for the children took place in the back half of the hall with Mr Berry (a Preston headmaster) using his magic skills. For the adults there were original posters from the war and newspapers printed on the actual V.E. Day in 1945.
The poppies had been carried into the hall. Many people, not all parishioners, said thanks as they took their poppy. It was the first service they had to say goodbye to their loved ones as they themselves had been away in the forces.
The sun was shining, the doors were open and many people spilled out to picnic on the grass. It was a truly special occasion for St Clare’s."
Thanks to Rosa for sharing her memories of that wonderful celebration, and for sending in these images of the day. You can see the full image gallery below.