2020 marks 75 years since our Islands were freed after WWII. We're taking our Liberation Day festivities online. Join us for our virtual festival.
With Heritage75 currently on hold – a major programme of 75 heritage-themed events and activities that was planned to take place across the islands between April and October – the celebrations are being brought into homes virtually instead, wonderfully allowing even more people to mark this significant anniversary.
The Islands of Guernsey are marking the 75th anniversary of their Liberation from WWII German occupying forces with a series of virtual, online and ‘at-home’ events. The virtual festival takes place over Guernsey’s Liberation Day (9th May) and the surrounding weekend, which is a Bank Holiday across the Channel Islands and a much-lauded annual celebration of freedom.
Here are a few highlights of what to expect from the replanned festival:
The free and weekly singing sensation The Sofa Singers will be hosting a special wartime Guernsey-themed singalong, bringing people together from around the world for an hour of simultaneous singing. To join in, you will need to head to here to register. Prior to the session, you will then receive the lyric sheet to two songs – the Guernsey anthem Sarnia Cherie, plus a classic song from WWII.
Dan Snow at Petit Bot Beach
Broadcaster and historian Dan Snow has visited The Islands of Guernsey several times to explore the remnants left by German occupying forces across the Islands after the Liberation. He will be interviewing Marco Ciotti, Chief of Staff to the current Lieutenant-Governor about a previous Governor of Guernsey during the immediate post-Occupation period, and will also be showing some wartime mementos from Government House. Dan will also speak to the current Governor about what Liberation Day means to him and get an insight into his life as the Governor.
Watch Dan Snow as he unearths the Occupation experiences of Islanders in this fascinating documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KBO7c9sHdI&t=375s
Stuart Snow, 96, who was part of the Liberating Task Force, will be interviewed on his experiences during this fascinating period of history for the Island. Hear his story first-hand 75 years later.
Annie Barrows, the co-author of this best-selling novel, will be reading her favourite excerpt from the book, which was published in 2008. Set in 1946, the story follows a free-spirited journalist, who travels to Guernsey to find out more about the curiously named book club formed during the German Occupation. The book uncovers the fascinating history of Guernsey under German rule, its subsequent liberation and the resilience of the islanders over that time whilst following the protagonist’s own love story. The book was later made into a movie starring Downton Abbey, Mamma Mia and Cinderella actress Lily James.
A Typical Liberation Day Cavalcade
The annual events that take place every year on 9th May to mark the anniversary of the Liberation will still take place this year, albeit in a slightly different manner. Since social distancing rules will not allow spectators at these events, they will be streamed at the planned times for viewers to commemorate the anniversary from home. This includes the laying of a wreath by the Bailiff (the head of the States of Guernsey) in St Peter Port; a church service; and a reading of the Queen’s Speech by the Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey – the representative of the British monarch in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
Local chef, Mike Pesrin, from Guernsey restaurant, Octopus, will be showcasing a classic Occupation recipe, but with a tasty contemporary twist for viewers to make at home as part of the commemorations. This dish will use only ingredients that would have been available to Islanders during the Occupation.
In the week running up to Liberation Day, between 1st and 7th May, a daily crafts activity will be suggested with online hints and tips for families to prepare for their own Liberation Day celebration at home, including creating a Union flag to put up in windows, designing artwork pebbles and so forth.
On Liberation Day itself, there will be a programme of 1940s music from BBC Radio Guernsey that householders can listen to in the background as they enjoy their own Liberation tea party.
Afternoon Tea at The Duke of Richmond Hotel
On Liberation Day itself, there will be a programme of music that householders can listen to in the background as they enjoy their own Liberation tea party (includes music from local bands, artists and choirs).
All events will be streamed here and will also be available to watch afterwards on the same web page.
Celebrate with us online this year. We'd love to have you.