Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls helped residents in Wigan Borough’s care homes receive surprise treats this week as the nation prepares to celebrate VE Day.
Wigan Council has delivered gifts of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls and flower bouquets to all 52 care homes in the borough.
Long-standing Wigan company, William Santus and Co Ltd, manufacturer of the town’s famous Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls, created two limited edition tins ahead of VE Day to remember former employee and veteran, Tommy Bennett, who served in the war and worked for the company for 51 years.
With current social distancing measures changing the direction of the borough’s celebration event, which was planned to be the largest in the North West, the local authority was determined to support local people to mark this milestone at home.
Uncle Joe’s Joint Managing Director John Winnard said: “We are delighted to be able to help Wigan Council with this initiative and to encourage people to mark VE Day and not let this important milestone go by without a celebration.
“We have also been encouraging people to support one another and put a smile on each other’s faces during our own Make Life Sweeter campaign and hopefully these deliveries of Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls on behalf of the council will have helped brighten people’s day.”
Leader of Wigan Council Coun David Molyneux, said: “Although circumstances which are out of our control have had a significant impact on our original VE Day plans, we’re still striving to help residents of all ages to mark this poignant time in our history.
“We’ve been especially keen to support those living in care homes, as residents are currently unable to see family and friends. By being kind and supporting others, we can all do our bit to make these times easier.”
Pat Taylor, aged 82 is a resident at Norley Hall care home. She said: “Uncle Joe’s Mint Balls were my favourite sweets when I was growing up but they were rationed so I was only allowed a small amount of them. Having them delivered today has brought back some lovely memories.”
Over the last two weeks, the local authority has been encouraging households to decorate their homes red, white and blue with homemade bunting and to hang poppies made from recycled plastic bottles on their windows.
Street parties are also being encouraged, in line with social distancing, with families asked to have picnics in their front gardens.
Coun Clive Morgan, lead member for the armed forces in Wigan Borough added: “Tomorrow marks 75 years since the end of the second world war and is a day where everybody across the country will acknowledge the extreme bravery and sacrifice of those who served and continue to serve our country.
“We urge everybody across the borough to come together and join us in marking this occasion and to share their celebrations with us on social media.”
Wigan Borough Armed Forces HQ also plans to mark the day with a 24-hour celebration challenge at the HQ base in line with social distancing measures.
A host of events that the public can virtually be involved with will be held between 9am on Friday 8 May – 9am on Saturday 9 May to raise money, which will fund the vital support for veterans provided by the HQ.
To follow Wigan Borough’s VE Day celebrations, follow Wigan Council on Facebook and Twitter.
To donate to the HQ’s Just Giving page, please visit justgiving.com and search ‘Wigan Borough Armed Forces HQ VE Day Challenge’.