D-Day celebration on Epsom Downs

Beacon against D Day landing view

A special event to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings is taking place on Epsom Downs on Thursday 6 June, 7–9.30pm. The event is being jointly run by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council, Go Epsom and Epsom Downs Racecourse.

The D-Day Landings are recognised as the largest naval, air and land operation in history, with more than 150,000 troops landing on five beaches in Normandy and bringing about the liberation of north-west Europe from Nazi occupation. Commemorative events are taking place nationally to remember those who gave their lives during the D-Day Landings.

The public are invited to come down to the Racecourse from 7pm, when the grandstand will open. Refreshments and fish and chips will be on sale, and there will be a range of entertainment on offer. The event is free to attend.

At 9pm, a ceremony will take place at the beacon on Epsom Downs, including a lone piper playing, and at 9.15pm the beacon will be lit. The beacon lighting is part of a national chain of beacons being lit across the country, and along the Normandy coast of France, and is designed to represent the ‘light of peace’ that emerged out of the darkness of war.

Cllr Clive Woodbridge, Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Committee at the council, said:

“The beacon lighting event is an opportunity for the community to come together to honour the thousands of people involved in the D-Day landings. Their brave actions enable us all to enjoy the peace and freedom we have today.

“We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors to this special and important event.”

Karen Pengelly, BID Manager at Go Epsom, said:

“Epsom’s beacon was erected two years ago to mark the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen. It is an absolute honour to be involved in the D-Day 80th commemoration. Epsom, just like many other places, played an active part in World War 2; this is our chance to remember the sacrifices made by so many.”

Tom Sammes, General Manager at Epsom Downs Racecourse, said:

“We are honoured and delighted to be a part of the D-Day 80th commemoration.  The racecourse was a key part of Epsom’s World War 2 response and we look forward to welcoming the community to remember the brave personnel who risked their lives for freedom and peace.”

Background image credit Expert Infantry CC BY 2.0 DEED