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May Day bank holiday to move to a Friday to mark 75th anniversary of VE Day

Huge crowds at Trafalgar Square celebrate VE (Victory in Europe) Day in London. Credit: PA

The early May Day bank holiday will be moved back four days next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

VE Day – or Victory in Europe Day – is marked on May 8 and commemorates the Allies accepting the surrender of Nazi Germany in the Second World War.

The May Day bank holiday is traditionally held on a Monday but will be put back to that Friday and form part of a three-day weekend of commemorative events.

The announcement was made after this week's moving commemorations held in the UK and France to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Normandy veteran Alan King, from the Norwich and District NVA, holds a photo of himself (front second left) and his comrades from B Company taken on VE Day 1945. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Sir Andrew Gregory, chief executive of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said it was a “fitting” idea.

He said: “It is our duty to keep the events of the past alive in collective memory, including future generations – this is how we ensure that such a conflict never happens again.

“It is our hope that the nation takes a moment to reflect on the significance of this date, as a milestone that changed the course of history for the whole world.”

A series of events, parties and concerts were held to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day. Credit: PA

As part of the VE Day commemorations, more than 20,000 pubs will encourage drinkers to toast the heroes of the war while churches will take part in a Ringing Out For Peace.

The bank holiday will move in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but not necessarily in Scotland as bank holidays are devolved to Holyrood.

Business secretary Greg Clark said moving the bank holiday was a “right and fitting tribute”.

He added: “VE Day marked an historic moment in not only our nation’s but the world’s history and it is important that we commemorate this great occasion on its 75th anniversary.

“Honouring those who did their duty – whether on the battlefields of Europe or through their efforts and sacrifices here at home.”

The May Day bank holiday has only ever been moved once before, when it was shifted from May 1 to May 8 in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.