Wartime spirit back

Julie Cavanagh adds a WWII flavour to the Salvation Army Care and Share shop.'114150b. Picture Kevin Allen.
Julie Cavanagh adds a WWII flavour to the Salvation Army Care and Share shop.'114150b. Picture Kevin Allen.

THE 1940s will be brought back to life as people get into good, old-fashioned spirit at the Wartime Weekend.

In association with North Yorkshire Moors Railway, the annual event gets underway in Pickering today and is expected to attract crowds of more than 15,000 people over the next three days.

The Railway at Wartime event has received phenomenal success since it started in 1992 and has grown to become one of the most popular attractions in the region.

In a first for the showpiece in its 19-year history, wartime trains will now travel the length of the heritage line all the way to Whitby Station.

The seaside resort is joining in the party with the station, Dock End and Endeavour Wharf all being transported back in time to the Home Front of 1943 to remember the key role which British railways played throughout the Second World War.

And as with the regular Wartime Weekend stations at Pickering, Grosmont, Levisham and Goathland, there will be themed 1940s entertainment, the chance to mingle with re-enactors in authentic clothing, vintage vehicles and the chance to learn more about life during the period through numerous displays.

The weekend officially starts at 11.15am when Philip Benham, the railway’s general manager, “hands over” Pickering Station and the other stations to Air Vice Marshall Sir Keith Park.

From that point, Pickering, Whitby and all the stations will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Home Front.

In Pickering, the central hub of the weekend, there will be a Spitfire simulator, a fire-fighting display, displays of 1940s guns and equipment, and a 1940s Gaviolli Organ and Steam Traction Engine.

The sounds of the era are represented by Paul Harper and Lola Lamour while, making their debut this year are Mickey Ramsbottom and the Alka Seltzer Sisters.

Welcome to Yorkshire has teamed up with railway bosses to make sure Whitby’s debut goes off with a bang by planning music, cookery demonstrations, lifeboat rides, exhibitions and more.

Visitors and re-enactors from all over the UK – and mainland Europe – make the annual pilgrimage to soak up the atmosphere and experience what life was like on the railways and in Britain at the height of the war.

Don’t miss our superb coverage of Wartime Weekend in Monday’s Evening News – and watch out for the special DVD. Copies of yesterday’s paper featuring a 12-page preview are still available.