JPIMedia titles make the most of lockdown to help readers celebrate VE Day anniversary

JPIMedia journalists pulled out all the stops to mark VE Day in very different circumstances from those originally planned.

Led by Chris Paige — described by the company as ‘our own veteran of the journalist world’ — a team of journalists assembled a wide range of content to help people to mark VE Day from their homes and gardens.

Content ranged from an 8-page supplement marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day to daily lifestyle pages that ran in most titles throughout the week, giving people advice on a range of things from how to make VE Day Bunting, running Prue Leith’s 1945 Muscovado Flapjacks recipe, how to organise your own VE Day Lockdown Street Party and so on.

In the north east, the Shields Gazette is running a very appropriate main story today about Fred McQueen — a veteran who took part in the D-Day landings, fought in Operation Market Garden and helped liberate Belsen.

Since then he has beaten cancer three times and now, aged 98, he has just won his latest battle — against coronavirus.

And in the Sunderland Echo there’s a unique ‘feelgood’ human interest tale that will feature on the front of tomorrow’s Sunderland Echo. Three generations of one family all born on VE Day (including the first baby born in Sunderland on that memorable day) and all called Victoria. It’ll be a social distancing party for them!

Many titles, including The Star, The Yorkshire Post and The Scotsman have gone back to their archives and are re-running front pages from VE Day — a challenge for a lot of our titles who were broadsheet in those days.

And the company’s Digital Team have put forward a high quality interactive long-form piece of high quality journalism capturing the key moments of events leading up to VE Day. It is running on all sites .

Jeremy Clifford, JPIMedia Editor-in-Chief, said: “We have written to all our staff asking them to mark the 11 0'clock two minutes silence and the 3pm raise a glass (or cup) toast that will be held across the country.

“There is nothing that can compare to the events of the two world wars and the pain, suffering and jubilation, too. But one thing that has come to the fore in recent weeks is how important communities are for people, which gives us a hint of what life may have been like 75 years ago.

“Our journalists have tried to capture this spirit in the work they have done to help people to mark and to celebrate this unique event today.”

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