May bank holiday 2020 changed for VE Day anniversary

crowds-celebrating-VE-day. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption VE Day marked the end of fighting in Europe in World War Two

Next year’s early May bank holiday will be moved back by four days in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to coincide with the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

May Day is traditionally held on a Monday but will be put back to Friday 8 May 2020.

VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, marks the day towards the end of World War Two when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe.

The holiday will form part of a three-day weekend of commemorative events.

They will include more than 20,000 pubs encouraging people to toast the heroes of the war, while churches will take part in a Ringing Out For Peace.

The bank holiday will not necessarily move in Scotland because such decisions are devolved to Holyrood.

Announcing the change, Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “It will ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to remember and honour our heroes of the Second World War and reflect on the sacrifices of a generation.”

Sir Andrew Gregory, chief executive of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said the government’s decision was “fitting”.

“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,” he said.

“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,” he added.

The May Day bank holiday has been moved only once before. It was changed from 1 May to 8 May in 1995 to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day.

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