The Hangar at Kesgrave Hall was the scene of a fabulous party to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of VE Day on Friday night (8th May).

Over 200 guests were entertained at the start of the evening by 35 members of The Band of The Parachute Regiment who Beat the Retreat and performed the Sunset Ceremony on the front lawn at Kesgrave Hall. The PARA Band is based in Colchester and £20,000 was raised for the ‘ABF The Soldiers Charity’.

Paul Milsom, Managing Director of Milsom Hotels & Restaurants, said: “The idea of celebrating VE Day is not new to us; 30 years ago my father Gerald Milsom organised a similar party at Le Talbooth to mark the 40th anniversary of VE Day. For its time this was a hugely ambitious event on both lawns, screens playing newsreels and fly pass by a Spitfire (which had to be cancelled due to torrential rain!). This year, we were incredibly lucky to secure The Band of the Parachute Regiment, hence the reason we chose The Soldiers’ Charity as our charity for the evening.”

From the moment guests arrived at Kesgrave Hall, they entered into the spirit of the occasion by dressing in military uniform or 1940s’ attire, some even turning up in military vehicles and classic cars. As well as The Band of the Parachute Regiment, further entertainment was from a 1940s singer, exhibition dancers from Cut Above Dance, ‘Gifted’ an 11-piece Big Band and Dreamwave Events DJ. The Hangar was decorated with union flags and bunting in street party style. Executive Chef Stuart Oliver cooked a delicious four-course dinner, without a hint of rationing.

The use of The Hangar is particularly fitting as during WW2 the Hall was used by the RAF, and by the pilots of the USAF 359th Fighter Squadron, part of the 356th Fighter Group, who were involved in aerial operations over France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Central Europe out of the nearby RAF Martlesham Heath. We are sure that 70 years ago Kesgrave Hall would have been the scene of much celebrating as it was last night.

milsoms Kesgrave Hall is a magnificent Georgian mansion set in over 38 acres of park and woodland and is situated just off the A12 between Ipswich and Woodbridge. The four star hotel has 23 bedrooms with a brasserie restaurant.

In 2014, Kesgrave Hall launched The Hangar for weddings, events and parties which can cater for over 300 guests. The hotel is run by Milsom Hotels & Restaurants who own Le Talbooth restaurant, Maison Talbooth and milsoms in Dedham as well as The Pier at Harwich.

+ Sue Bunting

Dedham, Colchester
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