Railway 1940s weekend is hailed ‘biggest and best yet’
PUBLISHED: 22:55 15 September 2019 | UPDATED: 23:01 15 September 2019
Organisers have hailed this year’s North Norfolk Railway 1940s weekend the “biggest and best yet”, after an estimated 20,000 people turned out to Sheringham and Holt to take part.
The annual event came to a close on Sunday with a Battle of Britain film screening and a 1940s-themed children's party at Holt, while, at Sheringham, a civilian parade saw thousands march through the town centre dressed in wartime costume.
First held 21 years ago as a one-off event, the 1940s weekend has since grown beyond all expectation, attracting people from all over the country and spreading its wings to include local pubs, clubs, shops and churches.
Those taking part this year were ferried between the two towns by vintage buses and the railway's steam and diesel trains, with the Poppy Line also laying on a host of attractions at its three north Norfolk stations.
At Holt, a committee led by local businessman Duncan Baker organised events ranging from a pigeon race, to a performance by 1980s icon David Van Day, with Britain's Got Talent stars the D-Day Darlings also delighting crowds with renditions of wartime songs in the town centre, before judging a best-dressed competition and releasing a crate full of birds for a charity pigeon race.
Mr Baker, who donned a series of wartime outfits over the weekend, hoped to have raised upwards of £2,000 for local good causes from this year's event.
"We have had bigger crowds than we have ever seen before, it couldn't have been better," he said. "The sun has shone, charity stalls have done really well, everybody has enjoyed themselves and the atmosphere has been amazing."
At Sheringham, crowds in their thousands lined the streets on Saturday for a 50-vehicle military parade organised by the town's carnival committee, with even more turning out for a civilian parade on Sunday.
Pub landlord Graham Deans, who is carnival events manager, said vintage vehicles, some of which had arrived on low loaders and trailers, had come from as far afield as Somerset, Wales and Leicester.
Praising all those who had worked to make the event a success, North Norfolk Railway general manager Andrew Munden said: "We had people queuing for tickets at 7.30am on the Saturday morning and the trains have been running at almost twice capacity. It has been a fabulous weekend."