VE Day Celebrations in Welfare Park, on Wednesday 9th of May 1945
Next Friday 8th of May 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) day. In different circumstances there would have been some form of gathering for celebration and personal reflection in the Welfare Park. I came across an article in the Thursday 17th of May 1945 edition of ‘The Dalkeith Advertiser’.
“Celebrations – To mark the VE victory special celebrations organised by the local VE Day Celebrations Committee were held last Wednesday in the Welfare Park. Councillor Andrew Rutherford, chairman of the Committee presided at the opening ceremony in the presence of several thousand spectators. Musical programmes were given by the Newtongrange Lothian and Juvenile Pipe Band under Pipe Major Alex. McIntosh; Newtongrange and District Pipe Band under Pipe Major Matthew Scott, and Newtongrange Lothian Silver Band under Mr James Farrow. Great interest was evinced in a “Go as you please competition for local children. A children’s sports meeting was also carried through, and races for adults. Considerable interest was also created by a number of relay races organised and carried out by a select band of former prominent sportsmen in the village, which emphasised that several had still the spirit if not the speed of earlier times. Dancing exhibitions by Miss Alice Law’s and Miss Brownlie’s troupe of dancers added greatly to the success of the celebrations, which culminated in a session of public dancing round the bandstand, to the accompaniment of the bands. The committee and especially Mr John Shields. Secy., and Mrs Peacock (convener), are to be congratulated on the excellent celebration arrangements in view of the shortness of time. In the Square Park the previous evening a bonfire was lit and an effigy of Hitler consumed in the flames. During the proceedings an impromptu concert and dancing to pipe music was carried through into the early hours before a large gathering.
Newtongrange Village Voices would love you to send and share any family photographs you might just have possession of which could relate to the 1945 May celebrations.
The local military historian John Duncan has an image of his Dad and two other children around VE Day.
The local park has been the scene for congregation with annual Remembrance and Gala day and incorporated in 1926 Scotland’s first children’s playground
Without exception every Newtongrange Community Council meeting the Welfare Park is on the agenda. The outstanding community action involving NC1 & the Gala committee in October last year in ensuring the War Memorial was ready for Remembrance Day. John and Audrey weeded the memorial this week and the recent rain will also be of great benefit. The NCC will continue to make sure the park is a top priority and already agreed a maintenance plan with Midlothian Council.
Newtongrange War Memorial was erected as a memorial for the fallen of the Great War on January 1934, and was provided by the Women’s Section of the British Legion. The inscription “To the memory of the lads from this Parish who fell in the Great War 1914 – 1918 & World War II 1939. Their name liveth for evermore” was added at a much later date. John and Reverend Malcolm Muir of Newbattle Parish Church, ensured that names previously omitted were to be recognised
WW2 veteran next of kin can Request records of deceased service personnel
Thanks to Legion Scotland and Poppy Scotland children can access the Victory in Europe Day 75th Anniversary Assembly and Resource Pack and next Friday 8th May 2020 from 11:00-12:00 you can watch a VE Day Virtual Service of Remembrance
For now within the new restricitons Newtongrange Gala Committee are working tirelessly to get some form of gala in the autumn and Brian Tannerhill MBE’s ‘Last Hurrah’ proposal might just see pipers and band members in the park once more, but please no bonfires!