A solo bid to make sure the 75th anniversary of VE Day was marked has blossomed into an international event with more than 300 standard bearers taking part in a virtual parade.
Steven Carr, 36, from Huntingdon, said he had been “humbled” by the response to his appeal launched after official celebrations of the anniversary were cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Now standard bearers from the Royal British Legion and other organisations will feature in the virtual parade which will be released on VE Day, May 8.
VE Day marks the end of the Second World War in Europe and its 75th anniversary was supposed to have featured three days of international celebrations over the bank holiday weekend from May 8-10. But it was called off under the lockdown regulations which prevent public gatherings, disappointing tens of thousands of people, including aging wartime veterans.
Now it is hoped some of these events will be transferred to VJ Day - Victory over Japan Day - in August which marked the end of hostilities in the Far East and the conclusion of the Second World War.
But Steve, a standard bearer with the Royal British Legion’s Huntingdon and District Branch, wanted to make sure the legion had a presence at the anniversary and that veterans would not miss out on the key anniversary, the last significant one they would be able to take part in.
He said his original plan was to carry out a small celebration at home, taking social distancing into account.
“I thought I would carry out a small homage and posted it to the legion site. I started to get a few responses, the first was from Spain - I didn’t know we had any British Legion branches there - and it has taken off from there,” Steve said.
“We have now got something over 300 standard bearers from the UK and further afield. It has been very, very humbling to get as much support as this has had.”
The campaign now has support from Gibraltar, Spain and Cyprus and Steve said he would still like to hear from other organisations whose standard bearers would normally take part in commemorations of this kind.
He said the idea was to combine the standard bearers’ images into a video including an act of remembrance, a blessing from the Rev Jon Randall, vicar of Huntingdon, a reveille, the national anthem and a performance of We’ll Meet Again by an opera singer.
Steve said that the Royal British Legion was continuing to support members of the British Armed Forces and their families, including those classified as being at risk from the virus.
He said the Facebook group for the virtual parade of standards was at Virtual Parade 2020 and they could be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org .