Felixstowe to turn the clock back

FELIXSTOWE is to turn the clock back to the dark days of the 1940s, for an event which it is hoped will attract thousands of visitors.Dame Vera Lynn, now 86, is being invited to join them and it is hoped she will at least send a message of support as the resort recreates the war-time era.

By Richard Cornwell

FELIXSTOWE is to turn the clock back to the dark days of the 1940s, for an event which it is hoped will attract thousands of visitors.

Dame Vera Lynn, now 86, is being invited to join them and it is hoped she will at least send a message of support as the resort recreates the war-time era.

Organisers hope the day will provide a real boost for its tourist trade and are encouraging a wide range of businesses and organisations to take part so that the whole town is involved.

"The Landguard Fort-ies" will be a living history day with re-enactments, music, displays and exhibitions, and possibly a flypast.

"People I have spoken to in the town and around the district have been very enthusiastic and I think it could be a really good day for Felixstowe," said organiser George Buckland.

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"It could bring large numbers of visitors and really put the town on the map.

"We want to make the event as special and as large as possible. There will be plenty for people to see and do and it will rekindle many memories.

"I am sure all ages will enjoy it – a lot of youngsters study the second world war in school and should find it interesting, too."

Mr Buckland, sales and promotion officer for the Landguard Fort Trust and a member of the Felixstowe History and Museum Society, is hoping businesses in the town will help with sponsorship.

"We would love to have a flying display but a Spitfire costs £1,500. We are looking at different options but sponsorship would help enormously," he said.

So far he has found people to spend the day as the Home Guard, Women's Land Army, a jive dance group, a barber shop quartet, and singers who will perform as the Andrews Sisters.

Rooms at Landguard Fort, the main centre for the event on September 14, will have displays on rations and fashions, RAF Felixstowe and HMS Beehive, wargames, Bawdsey Radar Station and Felixstowe at War.

A 1929 Dennis vintage coach will run a half-hourly service between the leisure centre and the fort.

Shops in the town centre are being asked to use their window displays for 1940s styles and goods, there will be a vintage car parade in Hamilton Road, and the Trinity Methodist Church Hall will become a war-time canteen once more.

The event will concentrate on 1940-41 and anyone who has memorabilia from that period – especially household items or uniforms – and could lend them for use in the displays should contact Mr Buckland on 01394 275789.

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