The nation has been invited to toast the heroes of the Second World War as the country marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR. Picture: Denise BradleyPageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR. Picture: Denise Bradley (Image: Bruno Peek)

People have been asked to raise a glass at home and repeat The Nation’s Toast, “To those who gave so much, we thank you”, to honour those who fought for our freedom on the frontline and Home Front on Friday, May 8 at 3pm.

The toast was due to form part of a series of events marking 75 years since Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945 when the Second World War Allies accepted Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of its armed forces.

However, the coronavirus lockdown has meant plans including street parties and church services have been cancelled.

Pageantmaster Bruno Peek, who is responsible for the celebrations, said: “The Nation’s Toast is a way of uniting the nation to say thank you to those who gave so much, those who served abroad and those who stayed at home to keep the fires burning.

Barking and Dagenham Post: Victory in Europe was declared on May 8 1945. Picture: Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPRVictory in Europe was declared on May 8 1945. Picture: Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR (Image: Archant)

“During these dreadful times we’re experiencing at the moment, it is still important that we recognise the sacrifice made by millions of people at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure that we all enjoy and share the peace we have today.”

This was why some celebrations would continue, including The Nation’s Toast, as well as scores of buglers playing The Last Post and Reveille from their homes across the country at 2.55pm.

Thousands of pipers from around the world are also due to play Battle’s O’er, a traditional tune performed on bagpipes at the end of hostilities, and VE Day 75, a piece specially composed to mark this historic milestone.

It is due to ring out at 3pm, the time on May 8, 1945, when British prime minister Winston Churchill announced that the war in Europe was over.

Mr Peek has been responsible for almost 40 years for some of the country’s biggest celebrations, including Her Majesty the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees.

“It is not appropriate to have a party during this time, but it’s still important to recognise it and commemorate those who gave so much,” he said.

*If you’re celebrating VE Day at home, send us pictures or video, to and we’ll publish them.