Dame Joan Collins leads nationwide toast for Second World War heroes

Dame Joan Collins leads a 'Nation's Toast' on behalf of the women of the nation from the balcony of her apartment in London.
Dame Joan Collins leads a 'Nation's Toast' on behalf of the women of the nation from the balcony of her apartment in London. The toast is in memory of all those who sacrificed so much for their country, on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Dame Joan Collins made the two-fingered V for Victory sign as she led a nationwide toast for the women of the Second World War.

The Golden Globe-winning actress, 86, appeared on the balcony of her London apartment at 3pm to raise a glass of champagne on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

She was joined by her 55-year-old husband, Percy Gibson, who opened a bottle to cheers from a small crowd below.

Dame Joan said: “Let’s raise a glass and give a toast to the great heroes of World War Two. They gave so much to us, now we give thanks to them.”

Christopher Biggins was among those taking part in the UK-wide event, dubbed The Nation’s Toast and organised by Bruno Peek, from Norfolk, who wanted to mark the occasion because it would be the last time many veterans could participate.

Recalling the work of those during the war, Dame Joan said: “We must never forget the selflessness of all those who sacrificed so much to keep us free during World War Two.

VE Day 75th Anniversary
Dame Joan Collins at the door of her London home (Yui Mok/PA)

“This is why I immediately joined up to support The Nation’s Toast.

“This meaningful gesture recognises the importance of not only the brave veterans who fought on the front lines but also the courageous women who put their lives on the line for this nation’s struggle.

“From their dangerous work as ARP air-raid wardens and ambulance drivers, as munitions factory-line workers, as code-breakers at Bletchley Park, as radar operators and plane spotters, as nurses and mechanics, the women of this country were an inspiration to women today.

VE Day 75th Anniversary
Christopher Biggins joins the toast (Yui Mok/PA)

“I remember clearly coming home one morning, after spending the night in the Marble Arch underground during a particularly vicious raid, to find our block of flats had entirely disappeared and in its place, a pile of rubble.

“I stared at the faces of the ARP rescue parties, their faces drawn and soot covered, who had dug frantically all night long for survivors while I, as a child, could only think about the fate of my favourite doll who I’d left behind.”

Mr Peek said: “She was one of the children who had to sleep on underground stations at night to avoid the bombs of the Blitz and she lived through the Second World War.

VE Day 75th Anniversary
Dame Joan Collins is joined by her husband Percy Gibson (Yui Mok/PA)

“She can appreciate the many millions of women who sacrificed so much for our freedom.”

Mr Peek encouraged publicans to raise a glass and share pictures of themselves behind their bar, with Captain Tom Moore’s local pub among those taking part.

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