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Steepleton joins the national toast "to those who gave so much, we thank you" on VE Day 2020

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Whilst all public gatherings and celebrations for VE Day were cancelled, owners at Pegasus Life’s development Steepleton in Tetbury decided to mark the occasion with a safe, socially distanced celebration. Development Host, Clare Steward had always planned to host a celebration and owners, for some of whom the day Victory was declared in Europe on 8th May 1945 is a living memory, looked forward to taking part.

Tables and chairs were set up at a safe distance in the beautiful expansive interconnected gardens in the late spring sunshine with all the necessary precautions heeded to enable a scaled down celebration. Owners who have been staying in their homes since the start of the pandemic, before lockdown began, were absolutely delighted.

Owner Harold Porter OBE, QFSM, who spent VE Day itself serving in the Port of Ancona was delighted to be able to mark the day: “This year’s celebrations were wonderful. It was a lovely hot sunny day and the outdoor swimming pond area was the perfect place for the tables and chairs to be set up, all at the specified two metre intervals, complete with flags and bunting. All the owners were there, enjoying drinks, sandwiches and cakes and reminiscing about our personal experiences of VE Day. We started at noon and most were still talking at 5pm, only the sun dipping behind the buildings sent us inside. Just for one afternoon we were able to shut ourselves off from the world outside and the current pandemic.”

No VE day commemoration is the same without tea and cake and in the true spirit of a community coming together, local businesses The Priory Inn and Tailor-Made Events provided a fabulous spread of cakes, sandwiches, and scones, complete with decorations.

Harold Porter adds: ““On VE Day 75 years ago I was in the port of Ancona in Italy, the port was the main supply port for the allied forces as they drove north through Italy. When the announcement came, I recall walking the streets shaking hands with and being hugged by half the population! The celebrations went on until the early hours and the next morning I had to be on parade at 9am for my Commanding Officer to receive the surrender of the German Baltic Fleet of over thirty E-boats (Motor torpedo boats) and escort their crews through town to be taken to the prisoner of war camps… to the cheer of the locals. It made your hair on your neck stand on end.”

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