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Plans for VE Day 75 are well underway in the locality, with up to 14 venues planning to put on events. The Camp Show planned for the Smugglers looks set to be one of the most finely tuned events with local connections and comedy that will recall Peter Sellers, his work with ENSA and the birth of the Goon Show

The VE Day 75 celebrations will mark the moment when the guns fell silent in Europe at the end of the Second World War. The new Bank Holiday weekend is designated by the Government between 8-10 May this year. Winston Churchill on VE Day said “”My dear friends, this is your hour.”

When VE Day dawns on 8 May 2020 it will be 75 years since the guns fell silent. Years of carnage and destruction had come to an end and millions of people took to the streets and pubs to celebrate peace, mourn their loved – ones and to hope for the future.

A new government website says, “it will be an opportunity for us all to remember the enormous sacrifices that were made at home and abroad and to joyously celebrate as people did 75 years ago, the arrival of peace in Europe.

Friday 8 May 2020 will see licensing hours extended to enable as many towns, parishes, district, community and other councils, along with individuals, voluntary organisations, the holiday and hospitality industry including pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels, to join in the VE Day 75 celebrations.

Here in Pevensey Bay, Pevensey, Westham, Normans Bay and the locality, the homegrown response planned will see a variety of events.

The  Camp Show at the Smuggkers in Pevensey is planed to take place on Saturday 9 May in the afternoon.

“Meet the boys, because the boys are here” is a refrain that viewers will remember from the hit comedy show “It It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum”.

The seventies show was a BBC television sitcom about a Royal Artillery concert party based in Deolali in India and the fictional village of Tin Min in Burma, during the last months of the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, who had both served in similar roles in India during World War II.

Warrant Officer, Battery Sergeant Major Tudor Bryn ‘Shut Up’ Williams (Windsor Davies) was the star of the show.

Spike Milligan is reported to have considered the performance by Davies as the most comedic he had seen. (The Times.14 October 2019).

The spirit of a Camp Show based at the end of the Second World War is an intelligent and interesting choice by the Smugglers as their contribution to local celebrations to VE Day 75.

A Camp Show is redolent with local references as well as being representative of the spirit of celebration of “when peace came to Europe and millions of people celebrated in towns and villages across the country’.

Peter Sellers, one of the team behind the genius anarchic radio comedy show, the Goon Show (1951), born out of trauma, catharsis and camarderie, following the Second World  War, was a regular visitor to Pevensey Bay in the summers of the fifties.

Ethel Wood was his cleaning lady when he was here.

He performed with ENSA (The Entertainments National Service Association), who put on camp shows that were spread thin over the vast area it had to cover, supporting the theatres of War across Europe, India and South East Asia with comedy shows to help with service morale.

The Goon Show was born out of ENSA, with many of the participants having been serving soldiers, including Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.

In the 1956 Goon Show episode “Scradje”, Major Dennis Bloodnok is said to have been discharged from the army for “cowardice in the face of ENSA”.

As many local residents will know, the Goon Show is littered with references to Pevensey and Pevensey Bay.

The roots of the show come from the Second World War, ENSA and the spirit of change and hope that was liberated “the Day the guns fell silent in Europe” 75 years ago.

The inclusion of a Camp Show in the festivities in the locality on VE Day 75, at the Smugglers in Pevensey, is likely to be one of the stars of the show with the weekend celebrations here in the locality.

As well as a warm and friendly welcome at the 16th Century inn in Pevensey there is fine dining and now two new ales, guest alea Black Sheep and Master Brew join their regular Bishops Finger and Spitfire Gold.

With a series of wine testing events and a novel, locally linked “garage art show ” in March. the public house is building a reputation based on a series of interesting community based focal points.

Regular Saturday night and Sunday afternoon entertainment from well known local bands and some surprising newcomers, top off the offerings by the public house, which is now getting noticed on a weekly basis for their profile.

The billing for the ENSA inspired Camp Show during the VE Day 75 celebrations, is likely to draw both residents and visitors to the Smugglers on the special Bank Holiday in May.

Meet the gang, because the local boys are here, the local boys to entertain you.

Congratulations to the Smugglers in Pevensey, with their planning. The Camp Show event looks set to light up the locality, centre stage, with comedy and ENSA inspired sketches on VE Day 75.

Smugglers Inn
High St, Pevensey BN24 5LF