Next year's early May bank holiday will be moved for only the second time in history, the UK government has announced. May Day will be changed from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May in England Wales and Northern Ireland, in order to allow the public to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which also falls on the Friday date. The occasion will remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied armed forces personnel who contributed to the war effort.
VE Day celebrations at Buckingham Palace in 2008
The three-day weekend will see a number of commemorative events take place throughout the country. These include the 'Nation's Toast', where over 20,000 pubs will encourage patrons to raise a glass to the heroes of the Second World War, as well as local street parties and celebrations. Bagpipers will also play the traditional Battle's O'er at the top of the four highest peaks in the UK – Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, Mount Snowdon in Wales, and Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland – while church bells across the country will join together in a special 'Ringing Out for Peace' effort.
Business secretary Greg Clark, who announced the decision, said: "VE Day marked an historic moment in not only our nation's, but the world's history and it is important that we commemorate this great occasion on its 75th anniversary. Honouring those who did their duty – whether on the battlefields of Europe or through their efforts and sacrifices here at home."
A 1995 street party to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day
He added: "Moving next year’s early May bank holiday to VE Day itself is a right and fitting tribute. It will ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to remember and honour our heroes of the Second World War and reflect on the sacrifices of a generation."