CULTURAL and religious organisations will be marking this weekend’s 80th anniversary of the Blitz in diverse and fitting ways.
The Blitz is embedded into the history and DNA of the city and due to the spirit in which Coventry people dealt with the tragedy of the event, the city has become a powerful symbol worldwide for peace and reconciliation.
This year’s commemorations of the anniversary have been impacted by Covid-19.
The council itself was set to mark the 80th anniversary of the Blitz by hosting the touring artwork Gaia but the recently announced national lockdown meant that this event had to be unfortunately cancelled.
Despite the lockdown meaning physical events had to be cancelled, many organisations in the city will be broadcasting virtual services to commemorate the event.
Coventry Cathedral will be broadcasting a live service on the Saturday. Residents will be able to watch the service, which features a special message from the Lord Mayor of Coventry Coun Ann Lucas, online on the Cathedral’s website.
The Belgrade Theatre will be showcasing a filmed performance of their classic wartime play ‘One Night in November. The screening is from the last staging of the play which took place in 2013 and will be available to view from home between tomorrow (Saturday, November 14) and November 30 with watch at home tickets from just £10.
At 8pm on the Saturday, the Coventry Lord Mayor’s Committee for Peace and Reconciliation will be premiering their new video the ‘Blitz Relived’.
The video features the words of Coventry people who lived through the Blitz, spoken by Coventry people. The video will be streamed live on the Committee’s website
The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum, in partnership with the Coventry Transport Museum, will also be showcasing a film about the Blitz called ‘Remembering the Coventry Blitz’. The film, which premieres Saturday at 7pm on the Museum’s YouTube channel, features oral history records, diary entries and photographs from Coventry Archives, led by Curators from the Herbert and Coventry Transport Museum.
BBC CWR will be broadcasting a special programme about the Blitz from 6pm to 8pm on the Saturday. The programme will feature their award-winning documentary about the Blitz and thoughts of peace from a few of Coventry’s citizens.
The Lord Mayor of Coventry, Coun Ann Lucas, said: “As we get further away from the event and we sadly lose people who experienced it first-hand, it’s important that we pass on the memories and teachings of this event to our younger generations.
“We must remember the suffering, heartbreak, and devastation that this event caused our city, but we must also remember how our city rose from the ashes of that devastation and became a beacon of peace and reconciliation throughout the world.
“That message is as important today as it was 80 years ago.
“While I am deeply disappointed that Covid-19 pandemic has caused us to cancel our plans to mark this special day, I am pleased that many organisations in the city have been able to go ahead with their plans.
“There are some truly moving and special events happening this Saturday and I encourage everyone to have a look at what’s on offer and to find their own way to pay tribute to those who lost their lives.”
Visit www.coventry.gov.uk/blitz80th for links to all the Coventry Blitz 80th anniversary activities and more information on them.