Huge crowds watch VE Day piper – (on video)
Caterham on the Hill Parish Council organised a lone piper to play in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day. They collaborated with the adjoining three Parishes (Caterham Valley Parish, Chaldon and Whyteleafe Village Councils) for Bob the piper to play at a series of venues across the area. He played five sets in all starting each with “Battle’s O’er” and finishing the final set, played at the Guard’s memorial on the Hill, with Amazing Grace in tribute to the human cost of WW2 and for anyone locally who has recently lost a relative or friend.
To avoid crowds gathering the venues were kept secret although timings were published so that people could listen via the Parish Council’s FaceBook page. The sound of the pipes soon brought out nearby residents who kept well apart whilst enjoying the playing and the sunshine. The number of people who have so far watched the broadcasts is now over 9000! The videos are still on the Caterham Hill Parish Council FaceBook page to watch or share with Caterham folk who have moved away.
After his final performance our Town Crier, Sonia Hunt, read the moving A Cry for Peace Around the World poem from the official VE Day site and Bob signed off with the National Anthem.
Later, after the Queen’s Speech and singing “We’ll Meet Again”, the Beacon on Westway Common was lit and the Cedar Tree in the High Street was illuminated blue for the NHS workers. The Council had earlier placed 75 large poppies in prominent positions.
Whilst not the full throttle celebrations the Parish Council had originally planned, they hope that, in the current circumstances, residents found these events to have been respectful and appropriate.
Special thanks to Bob Ash, the piper and to Mike Stephens and Andy Parr for doing all the legwork on the day.