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Big Picnic For Hope

Honouring Heroes of Past and Present in the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’

Guildford Cathedral is joining a number of the nation’s cathedrals are uniting this VE Day in a project to remember heroes of the past and present as part of the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’.

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8 May 2020, cathedrals around the country had events planned to form part of the national celebrations. These events would have brought together communities, friends and families in gatherings and streets parties around the UK. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic, such gatherings are no longer possible. Most major events have been cancelled or postponed, but 8 May 2020 is still a national bank holiday and an opportunity for us to reflect on past events and those we are all currently experiencing.

The ‘Big Picnic for Hope’ is an opportunity for households to be part of a virtual get together on 8 May. The project asks people to stay at home, to picnic indoors or in their gardens, and to join friends and families virtually.

At the same time as something fun to take part in with other people around the country, the project affords us a unique way to remember heroes who have kept our country safe in the past and those on the new home front. It gives the nation another way of saying thank you for the incredible effort and sacrifice being made by our key workers from carers, delivery personnel, grocery workers and public transport workers to medical researchers and frontline NHS staff. We must also not forget the remarkable collective effort of the nation to play our part and stay at home. The project also serves an opportunity to recognise that these times are difficult for many people and aims to raise £5000 towards The Trussell Trust, a charity supporting a network of foodbanks and helping those in need in the UK. In Guildford, people will also be given the opportunity to support the North Guildford Foodbank.

The Very Reverend Dianna Gwilliams, Dean of Guildford, said:

‘The selflessness of those who lost their lives in World War II is reflected in the sacrifices of the NHS staff and other key workers during the current pandemic. COVID-19 has required us to put our public commemoration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day 2020 on hold, but the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’ provides an opportunity for people to come together in the same household or in virtual meetings with families and others to celebrate the values  which our veterans and those battling the coronavirus both share. It will also help those who are finding life particularly difficult by supporting the Trussell Trust and the North Guildford Food Bank’.

Samantha Stapley, Chief Operating Officer at the Trussell Trust, said:

‘As the coronavirus outbreak develops, more people are likely to need a food bank’s help. Our teams are working tirelessly to ensure that food banks are able to remain open and have the necessary stocks to respond to this crisis. The support of the Cathedral network means we can remain agile to respond to the fast-changing situation and ensure food banks continue to provide the lifeline of emergency food and additional support for people in crisis. Thank you.’

How can people get involved in the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’?

People can share their plans and ideas for the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’ using the hashtag #bigpicnicforhope. On social media people will be able to share and see their creative ideas of what to bake, what to make, how to picnic in style. This will help everyone get ready to join together on Friday 8 May to share photos of their picnics and discuss memories and stories of their loved ones, past and present, in a way fitting of the circumstances we are living through.

To join in with the ‘Big Picnic for Hope’, find out more, or share your ideas and photos visit also see participating cathedral social media and @bigpicnicforhope on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

The fundraising pages can be found here: