Nation’s Toast organiser Bruno Peek is delighted that award-winning actress Dame Joan Collins has been named patron of this year’s VE Day celebrations.

Dame Joan will raise a glass at 3pm on May 8 on behalf of the women of the nation.The Nation’s Toast, organised by Gorleston Pageantmaster Bruno Beek, pays tribute to the heroes of the Second World War who gave up everything to ensure the freedom we all enjoy today - some of whom may be joining in for the last time.

The event will include more than 1000 pipers performing in 27 countries globally.

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

“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.”She added: “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.”

For Mr Peek, Dame Joan’s involvement is wonderful.

He 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.

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

“I am disappointed I cannot join Dame Joan in person for the Nation’s Toast but I will be sharing in the moment at my home in Great Yarmouth which was one of the most heavily-bombed British coastal towns during World War Two.”