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North Norfolk’s ‘40s weekend cancelled

The D-Day Darlings performing at Holt at last year's event. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The D-Day Darlings performing at Holt at last year's event. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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The hugely popular North Norfolk ‘40s weekend has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Festival-goers take part in a conga around Holt market place, accompanied by songs from 1980s icon David Van Day, in 2019. 
Photo: KAREN BETHELLFestival-goers take part in a conga around Holt market place, accompanied by songs from 1980s icon David Van Day, in 2019. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The North Norfolk Railway (NNR) has staged the event in mid-September for the past 25 years.

During this time the event has grown in popularity with visitor numbers in the region of 40,000 over the weekend.

Many of these come from all over the country to experience a highly-rated weekend event bringing welcome late season income to the towns of Sheringham and Holt.

However, like all businesses, the current restrictions due to the coronavirus lockdown have had an adverse impact on the railway and its special events.

As a result, the board of directors had to make the decision taking into account government guidelines to cancel this year’s 40s weekend, due to take place on September 19 and 20.

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The NNR said that the numbers normally attending the event would have made it impossible to guarantee visitors’ safety in relation to social distancing. A spokesman added that they hoped everyone who had supported the event over the years would help make the 2021 event even bigger and one to remember.

Managing director Hugh Harkett said: “We are very sorry we have had to cancel this very popular event and realise that many of you will be disappointed.

“Although the event was planned for September, it does take much planning which has to start now.

“Given the government’s advice and the restrictions in place, we had no option as the size of the crowds would be unmanageable.

“We do hope to welcome you all back next year. In the meantime, provided there is some easing of guidelines, we hope to be running ordinary passenger trains in late summer. They will run to a special timetable and restricted access for the protection of our passengers, especially in terms of contact.”

The event celebrates the wartime efforts of allied forces and the remarkable resilience shown by those who dealt with the hardships on the home front.

The NNR is based at Sheringham and operates heritage, steam and diesel services via Weybourne to Holt. Passenger numbers last year were 164,105.


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