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Socially-distanced plans for VE day across Northern Ireland

Buildings will be lit, church bells will ring and lone pipers are set to play at a social distance after the coronavirus saw events cancelled.

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Belfast City Hall is set to be illuminated (Liam McBurney/PA)

Belfast City Hall is set to be illuminated (Liam McBurney/PA)

Belfast City Hall is set to be illuminated (Liam McBurney/PA)

A host of virtual and remote initiatives have been planned across Northern Ireland to mark the 75th anniversary of VE day.

As the years roll on from 1945, May 8 was expected to be the last major anniversary to be marked involving significant numbers of veterans.

But with gatherings ruled out due to coronavirus regulations, the poignant date will instead be marked at a social distance.

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A new mural tribute to Colonel Tom Moore on his 100th birthday in Clonduff, east Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

A new mural tribute to Colonel Tom Moore on his 100th birthday in Clonduff, east Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

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A new mural tribute to Colonel Tom Moore on his 100th birthday in Clonduff, east Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

Nationally, the Royal British Legion is encouraging everyone to take part in a UK-wide two-minute silence at 11am – and at 9pm, a singalong to Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again.

Belfast City Hall is set to be illuminated on Friday, and church bells will be rung in lieu of the usual gatherings to mark the moment the guns of the Second World War fell silent.

A Belfast City Council spokesman said discussions remain ongoing about other initiatives being planned.

In Fermanagh, the most westerly part of the UK, a three-day celebration including church services and a beacon lighting ceremony at Enniskillen Castle had been planned.

Instead, there will be the projection of two beams of light in Enniskillen from Thursday to Saturday, to replicate the V for victory sign which lit up the skies in 1945.

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Solo buglers are expected to sound The Last Post on the anniversary of VE Day (Aaron Chown/PA)

Solo buglers are expected to sound The Last Post on the anniversary of VE Day (Aaron Chown/PA)

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Solo buglers are expected to sound The Last Post on the anniversary of VE Day (Aaron Chown/PA)

And solo buglers will sound The Last Post while individual pipers will play When The Battle’s Over from outside homes and schools, where restrictions allow.

Organisers have encouraged members of the public to take part in the nation’s toast from the safety of their own homes at 3pm on Friday.

On the other side of the region, the North Down Museum will sound its Second World War siren on Friday to all those who made sacrifices during the war.

Residents will be encouraged to observe a two-minute silence at 11am before taking part in a national toast at 3pm when a local piper will play via the council’s social media channels.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has also cancelled planned events.

It is instead asking local churches to take part in the national “Ringing out for Peace” event and featuring an online tribute to the recipients of its Silver Poppies, a specially-commissioned commemorative gift to surviving World War Two Veterans within the borough.

They are encouraging residents to dress up and decorate their homes in “1945-garden party style” and share photographs and videos with the council’s social media channels.

PA