ALTHOUGH it was a huge pity the Island was unable to celebrate VE Day the way they wanted this year, every town and village threw a 50th anniversary party still being talked about to this day.

In 1995 — 25 years ago — the County Press extensively covered celebrations held across the Island.

Upwards of a thousand people — many of whom did their bit to achieve peace in Europe — gathered at Church Litten Park in Newport to celebrate in style.

More than 40 organisations were represented by standard bearers, with Lord Mottistone, the Island's governor, taking the salute, making the drumhead service the largest of its kind on the Island in many years.

A 300-strong parade followed, which included representatives of the Royal British Legion (RBL) branches, ex-service associations, emergency services, cadet and auxiliary services and youth groups, as well as veterans.

Many of the men returning home, were sent to the Far East to continue the war effort.

Among them was Alec Bull, of Ash Road, Newport, who fought in Anzio.

Alec said: "We were relieved at the victory of Europe, but still aware the war was continuing for us."

In Shanklin, around 4,000 revellers flocked to the town for a jolly good knees-up, making it one of the biggest events ever held there.

Attractions included a cortege of military vehicles through the town, performances by the Shanklin Town Brass Band and the Oyster Girls dance troupe, a huge children's party on the lawns of Daish's, with a mini beacon lit by Lord Mottistone and other stalls and entertainment, centrally located in the Old Village car park.

Island MP Barry Field and former television newsreader, Kenneth Kendall, presented sports awards.

Richard Priest, a former mayor of Shanklin, spent six months organising it.

He said: "Attendance figures far exceeded my expectations that day. The weather was a big factor.

"It was day that has lived long in the memory. It was a very special way to commemorate such an occasion."

An air raid siren signalled the start of the party fun in Ventnor.

More than a hundred youngsters enjoyed a wartime street party, courtesy of the town's RBL branch and the residents of South Street, who cleared their cars to allow the merriment, which also included clowns and traditional 1940s music.

Its organiser, Dave Lewis, of Ventnor RBL, said: "The party was the result of more than two months of planning. The women's section provided the food and the residents of South Street entered into the spirit by decorating their houses with bunting."

There was a grand street party in Seaview too, with its business association providing free food and drink for residents, while they sang and danced along to popular wartime tunes performed by Robert Miller and Norman Gutteridge.

Grace Chick, of Oakhill Road, Seaview, said: "My husband, Cyril, was serving in Egypt and I'd not seen him for five years,

"So when VE Day came, the mood throughout the village was one of jubilation and we had a street party and there were dances for days afterwards" - Grace Chick.

"Even though I did not see him until 1946, the fact war was over was a huge relief for everyone."

Staff, parents and primary school pupils in Yarmouth got into the spirit of VE Day by dressing up as evacuees or wartime workers.

They also enjoyed a 'ration book' tea, which included Spam fritters and carrot cake.

Also in the town, there was an array of entertainment, such as the ancient adult game, Dwile Flonking, which involved a hat and a beer-soaked towel, together with children's games, a wartime memorabilia exhibition, a kids' fancy dress competition and a noisy reinactment of the original VE Day parade in the square.

It was a similar kind of celebration for schoolchildren in Chale, with the Island's retail manager for the village post office, Colin Lovegrove, presenting each child with a commemorative VE Day coin.

A hundred red, white and blue balloons were released in Sandown to mark the occasion and a nostalgia show was performed at Sandown Pavilion Theatre, Our Finest Hour, while youngster, Emily Garnham, tugged at the heart-strings when she sang The White Cliffs of Dover in Bembridge.

In Lake, Year 5 pupils of Lake Middle School departed from their normal timetable to celebrate VE Day.

After learning about its significance, they enjoyed a street party, with music and games, while dressed in wartime costume.

Shanklin mayor, Cllr Joe Wallace, presented a certificate to each child to thank them for their contribution to the Bay's VE Day celebrations.

Two VE Day variety shows were performed at Ryde Theatre, compered by Alan Williams, who was believed to be the first baby born on the Island after the wartime peace treaty was signed.

In Whippingham, the Folly Inn hosted a special VE Day picnic for pupils and staff of the village's nearby primary school, while Totland celebrated with a flower festival at the Methodist Church, which featured live on BBC Radio Solent.

Meanwhile, in Porchfield, the Sportsman's Rest pub put Spam fritters and corned beef hash at the top of its lunchtime menu and entertainment was provided in the village hall with a tea dance, children's party and a disco.

Music and dance was provided by The Men of Wight morris dancers, the Vectis Corps of Drums, The Maxwell Brothers and In the Mood.

Islanders made the most of some one-off items at 1945 prices.

The Island Sweet Company produced special red, white and blue VE Day mints, using a coupon printed in the County Press, while the Freshwater Bakery sold Lardy cakes, made to a wartime recipe, for just 28p, doughnuts were 12p and bath buns, 10p. It sold out of its 95 dozen items in just three hours.

Across the Island, beacons were lit on St Catherine's Down, Seaview Esplanade, Shalfleet Manor Farm and Culver Down, to bring the celebrations to a close.