CAPTION: The Bishop of Plymouth recorded the service on Plymouth Hoe

Bishop of Plymouth leads VE Day 75th Anniversary Service

Posted: 6th May, 2020

The Church of England in Devon is commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day) with a special service led by the Bishop of Plymouth.

It has been pre-recorded and will be made live on the Diocese of Exeter website, YouTube channel and Facebook page at 1000 on Friday 8 May.

Bishop Nick McKinnel recorded his sections of the service by the naval war memorial on Plymouth Hoe.

He said: “8 May is a day of many differing emotions: gratitude, sorrow, hope.

“75 years ago the nation overflowed with relief and joy but those emotions are currently tempered by the anxieties of the circumstances we now find ourselves in.

“There was a feeling that, despite all that had gone on, there really is a God somewhere” Suzanne Sparrow, former Wren

“If evil is strident, goodness is self-effacing. It is quiet and unobtrusive.

“We see it in the quiet acts of generosity, of kindness or forgiveness in friend and stranger, in those who in our present crisis risk their lives to care for the sick or to keep normal life going for the rest of us, just as we saw it in the courage and sacrifice of our grandparents’ generation.”

Suzanne Sparrow’s home in Plymouth was bombed during the war

Some of the music for the VE Day service was provided by choristers from Exeter Cathedral choir school.

They recorded their parts individually in their homes and the music was then mixed together.

The service also features contributions from Lieutenant Colonel David Glendenning of 29 Commando and Reverend John Money RN, a naval chaplain based with 42 Commando at Bickleigh.

Suzanne Sparrow, 95, also provides a reflection on her memories of VE Day and how her faith helped her during the war and is helping her now.

Suzanne became a member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in Plymouth at the age of 17 after her home was bombed.

Her role involved providing boat transports in Plymouth Sound.

She said of VE Day: “We were still in a war atmosphere, not dissimilar to what people are suffering today.

“I had a very strong faith, which I still have, and there was a feeling that, despite all that had gone on there really is God somewhere and he had brought us through.

“We need to remember that now.”