New Victory Memorial leads Thurrock’s VJ Day commemorations

A NEW Thurrock Victory Memorial has been unveiled in Grays Town Park ahead of Victory over Japan Day (VJ Day) on Saturday 15 August.

The final piece to be added – a slate plaque paying tribute to Thurrock’s brave service men and women – now adorns the memorial. It was originally due be revealed on Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) but was deferred to VJ Day due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thurrock Council created the plaque in partnership with the Friends of Grays Town Park and stone masons M & J Memorials for display on the Thurrock Victory Memorial, which commemorates the 75th anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day.

Virtual VJ Day tributes will be shared on the council’s social media channels on Saturday 15 August including videos from: Thurrock Council Cabinet Member for Communities Cllr Deb Huelin, Mike Ostler from the Far Eastern Veterans Association and Thurrock Burma Star Association, and Rod Oakley chairman of the Royal British Legion Grays Branch.

A special light display will also be put on outside the Thameside Complex, Grays, and the Far Eastern Veterans Association and Thurrock Burma Star Association will hold a small private event in Orsett to mark the occasion due to current government social distancing rules.

Cllr Huelin said: “This month we commemorate another important milestone in our world’s history. It has been 75 years since VJ Day when Japan surrendered on the 15 August 1945 and in effect ended the Second World War.

“The special slate plaque is the last piece to be added to the new Victory Memorial in Grays Town Park. This artwork was inspired by a winning design found in newspaper clippings about a Thurrock Victory Memorial Appeal Scheme competition in 1946 for a memorial at Grays Beach – which was sadly never made.

“2020 has tested us in many ways, but what has shone through is our community spirit. Although we are unable to come together and commemorate VJ Day, we can still pay tribute to the brave Thurrock men and women who played their part.

“I would encourage everyone to stay safe and celebrate this day in their own way at home or outdoors following social distancing guidance.”

Residents can mark VJ Day using a special ‘VJ Day at Home’ toolkit from the government. Go to GOV.UK: VJ Day 75 – toolkit for help to celebrate at home.

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