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Liberation 75 celebrations: Details announced

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THE ‘biggest and best’ celebration of Jersey that the Island has ever hosted will mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation, organisers have pledged.

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A family-friendly festival, three days of entertainment at a special Liberation Village and a film festival are among the official events being planned to mark the occasion.

And Islanders are today being invited to play their part in the biggest community art project Jersey has ever seen, which will form part of the commemorations.

Thousands of individual images submitted by Islanders of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs are required for the Face of Liberation Project, which is being organised by ArtHouse Jersey.

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The images, which will be accompanied by a short reflection on the themes and questions that Liberation raises, will then be transformed by artist Helen Marshall into a giant photo mosaic to be displayed in an outdoor location in St Helier as part of the anniversary events. To launch the project submissions have already been made by the likes of the Chief Minister, Bailiff, Dean, politicians, campaigners and local ambassadors. (Full story pages 16, 17 and 18.)

Details of the programme of events have also been unveiled today – exactly four months before the 75th anniversary on 9 May.

Organisers say the celebrations promise to be the largest and most extensive celebration of Jersey that the Island has ever hosted.

The plans, which have been informed by a public consultation group made up of 72 members of the public from a diverse mix of backgrounds and experiences, include:

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  • Operation Outreach – those who lived through the Occupation will work with schoolchildren to relay their accounts to the next generation.
  • Liberation Village – a three-day celebration with entertainment, food, activity zones and themed days.
  • VE75 Festival – A family-friendly festival in St Brelade’s Bay celebrating Victory in Europe Day.
  • Jersey Week – Island-wide ‘open house’ showing how both public and private organisations contribute to the Island.

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  • Liberation 75 Film Festival – one film screening in each parish, with the public voting on which film makes the final cut.

Deputy Kevin Pamplin, who chaired the Liberation 75 working group in 2019, said that the celebrations would be inclusive and had been designed for all.

‘Liberation Day is a time for remembrance of those who endured the Occupation and the Second World War, as well as a time for celebration,’ he said.

‘I am privileged to have met several survivors and their relatives over the past year, and to have heard their incredible and moving first-hand accounts. Liberation 75 provides a final opportunity for these first-hand experiences to be handed down to the younger generations, so that Liberation Day is not just seen as an extra day off work or school. It is a time to remember those who suffered during Occupation and to celebrate our freedom – the freedom that we still enjoy today.’

He added: ‘Liberation 75 also reminds us of the importance of forgiveness and inclusivity in our community. The Liberation 75 programme of celebratory events has been designed for everyone, no matter their age, ethnicity, sex, sexuality, income or background. 2020 will see the biggest and best anniversary celebrations ever held in Jersey, for one and all.’

The Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, said the working group had co-ordinated with his office to bring together all interested parties in recent months to develop the programme of events.

‘I am grateful for their work and commitment to establishing such an interesting programme for 2020. It is one I hope will ensure that all Islanders will have an opportunity to remember, learn about and celebrate Liberation Day, and to think about and be proud of Jersey and its identity,’ he said.

‘This anniversary year will be an important time, not only for our senior citizens who had first-hand experience of the Second World War, but also for our younger generations who will ensure the memory and lessons of 1945 are carried forward – it is important that we carry the value of freedom, peace and inclusivity and learn the lessons of the Occupation.’

A new website – Liberation75.je – providing full details of the celebrations has today gone live as have the campaign’s social media accounts, @Lib75Jsy. The hashtag #Lib75 is also being used on social media. Businesses, organisations and individuals are invited to share details of their own Liberation 75 events by emailing hello@liberation75.je.

States Members have agreed that Friday 8 May will be a public holiday for 2020 to allow for a long weekend of celebrations recognising Liberation Day and VE Day the previous day. Liberation Day, which this year falls on a Saturday, will remain a public holiday.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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