On 8 May 1945, peace finally came to Europe. Here Phyllis Hill recalls the day the war ended and hope returned to the streets of London

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The Independent Culture
We were living in Paddington, but I went up to St Paul's Cathedral for the VE Day Thanksgiving Service. It was quite a trip; we weren't really allowed to go up to London much, not with all the foreign soldiers on leave there. I was in the Junior Air Corps, and I went up with all my friends. We'd never been to St Paul's before; it was packed, we were all standing in the nave. Afterwards everyone was laughing and dancing, regardless of country. Kissing and hugging one another. We decided to have a cup of tea and we all conga-ed to this Lyons Coffee House, and all the people in there just got up and joined the conga. We conga-ed out into Ludgate Hill, and this photographer said "Hey! Come on girls! Link arms and dance," so we did. The next day my mother's busybody neighbour popped in and said, "Well, I thought you said your Phyllis was going to St Paul's!" And she showed my mother a copy of Picture Post with this picture in it. But my mother didn't mind too much. She knew I'd been to church.

Phyllis Hill (third from right) was 19 when this photo was taken. Her story can be heard on 2 May (10.28pm BBC2) as part of `Victory Stills', a nightly series of VE Day picture stories continuing tonight until Sat 6 May

Interview by Rosie Millard

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