By any measure, 70 years is a long time.

Anyone born in 1945 will have seen the world change immeasurably during the course of their lifetime.

But as we prepare to embark on next month’s VE 70 commemorations, the inevitable question will arise: is the world any safer today than at the end of the Second World War?

I think we all know the answer to that. For unless we are vigilant, the new threats, of a very different nature, could jeopardise the freedom our grandparents fought for during the cataclysmic years from 1939 to 1945.

It’s important, then, that commemoration of the end of the Second World War in Europe, following the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945, is marked prominently nationally and locally.

On page 13 this week, we outline the plans drawn up by the Largs branch of Royal British Legion Scotland for a special VE day on Sunday 10 May.

The day will include a parade, and services at St Columba’s Parish Church and the war memorial. It ties in with three days of commemorations nationally which will include parades, a service of thanksgiving and a star-studded concert in Central London headed by Status Quo.

Lynda Chinery, publicity officer for the Largs branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, says: “A special parade and thanksgiving service is to be held in Largs, followed at the war memorial by a tribute in memory and honour of the 67 servicemen and women from Largs who died in the Second World War.” On a personal note, my parents, Jim and Nancy — now in their nineties — still have vivid memories of the dramatic impact felt in Largs and elsewhere by the outbreak of war. My mother was to serve in various locations with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and my father joined the RAF, serving for three years in India and Burma and qualified for the Burma Campaign Star.

My father was an apprentice compositor in the Largs News office at 120 Main Street when war was declared in September, 1939.

He said: “The declaration of war came on a Sunday in the September of that year. I went to work as usual on the Monday. Because I was the apprentice, I was sent out in the early part of the morning to Jimmy Graham’s tobacconist shop across the road to get cigarettes for someone. On the radio in the shop I heard an announcement that all reservists and territorials were to report immediately to their units. I ran back to the office to break the news because two of the printers were in the Ayrshire Yeomanry.

“They were Willie Donald, (later to become Provost of Largs) and Willie Black. I remember being really nervous about telling them because I knew that this was for real - the war was on.” My father told me he was not selected for air crew — a decision that probably saved his life — and he was called up for service in the Far East in 1942.

Sadly, however, the paper was touched by tragedy. Squadron Leader Ernest Simpson, D.F.M., R.A.F.V.R., the son of Alex Simpson — whose family firm of J and R Simpson owned the paper — died while on a mission over Germany in February 1943.