‘The long night of fear is ending’ Loughborough Mayor tells townsfolk

8 May 2020

Mayors of Loughborough from 1938-1944, George Dean, George Hill and Francis Stubbs must have had a most difficult time in office, holding, as they did, the position during the Second World War.

It must therefore have been such a joyous, momentous and thankful occasion for the outgoing mayor of 1944-1945, Alfred Perkins, when the end of the war was announced and the whole country began a day of celebration – which in many cases spilled out into the 9th May, too!

A letter by the mayor, written to the people of Loughborough, was printed in the Loughborough Echo of Friday May 11th, 1945. This is what he said*:

‘On this great and momentous occasion, in the history of the world, the Mayoress and I, with thankfulness, look forward to the dawn of a better day.

The long night of fear, suffering and sorrow is ending and the gates to a better world are slowly opening.

Let us be worthy of this new opportunity for mankind and with the spirit of firm resolve say ‘Never again must war and Nazism, with its satanic brutality and decadent paganism, be allowed to bring suffering and misery to the world.’

‘Science and modern research has contributed much to the success of this present war: now its new-found power must be transformed and made to create abundance and happiness to all human beings.

This war has demonstrated clearly the indomitable democratic determination of the British people, and a new spirit of co-operation has been born – a spirit which has revealed the deep springs of service, unselfish endeavour and loyalty to principles which are the very foundation of civilisation.

‘Many obstacles and difficulties have been surmounted, but many more are ahead of us – obstacles which will test our endurance, faith and loyalty to the common good. But we must move forward, ‘for ahead,’ as President Roosevelt said ‘lies the greatest epoch of free achievement by free men the world has ever known or imagined to be possible.’

Therefore, in the coming days, let us all show our deep thankfulness to God for the victory which has been granted to us and our Allies, and may we re-dedicate our services with wisdom and faith to the work we have still to do.

In our joy and gladness, let us never forget the young men and women from our town who have given their lives freely for our cause. Let the verdict of the generations yet to come be ‘They died not in vain.

Compiled by Lynne Dyer

Letter reproduced in full by kind permission of The Loughborough Echo.

Lynne is the author of ‘Secret Loughborough‘ and ‘Loughborough in 50 Buildings.’ She blogs about the history of the area at Lynne About Loughborough.