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Lancaster Bomber flypast booked for VE Day celebrations as organisers remain defiant

Organisers of Swaffham’s VE Day celebrations in May say they will not be making “hasty decisions” to cancel the event.

It was confirmed last Friday that a Lancaster Bomber flypast has been booked as part of the activities planned for the Market Place on Friday, May 8.

Downham Town Council has already announced it has cancelled its own VE Day event due to the coronavirus, but there is no indication of Swaffham following suit at this stage.

A Lancaster Bomber has been booked for Swaffham, Covid-19 permitting
A Lancaster Bomber has been booked for Swaffham, Covid-19 permitting

Councillor Ian Pilcher said: “As chair of the organising committee, I am trying to ensure we retain a perspective and do not make hasty decisions, before obliged to do so.

“Of course we will follow the ‘law’ as and when but should not pre-empt the situation until directed.”

He added that the loss of the event would be “social and communal rather than fiscal” due to the support being offered by a range of volunteers and associations.

“We in Swaffham are determined to put on a great show, to be proud of the VE75 feature that the nation should also be proud of,” Mr Pilcher said.

If the event does go ahead, the town will be decked out with bunting and red white and blue planters.

Local traders are also being encouraged to decorate their windows in 1940s style.

VE75 celebrations will be preceded by a parade from the Buttercross to St Peter and Paul Church, for a Civic Service.

Throughout the afternoon, there will be a funfair and vintage vehicles on show.

The VE Day events at Lynn Town Hall on Friday, May 8 have been cancelled, as has the VE church service on Sunday, May 10.

The inaugural Swaffham Model Railway Exhibition on Sunday, May 24 has also been called off.

Promoter Mr Pilcher said: "We wanted to hold off as long as possible before we made a decision but we had to respect the potential age profile of many exhibitors and enthusiasts. In today's situation, people are inevitably concerned about their future obligations.

"As this was a new venture in Swaffham this hits us very hard, with set up costs incurred and written off - there is no prospect of any compensation, nor anticipated, so the loss is terminal."

Funds were going to be raised for the Swaffham & District Mental Health Association.

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