Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting CHNEWS to 80360, or email
Grassington turns back the clock for 1940s weekend
1:55pm Thursday 27th September 2012 in News
Grassington ’s first 1940s weekend went with a bang – quite literally. Re-enactors detonated unexploded butterfly bombs, but that was just one of the many attractions.
The event was organised by the chamber of trade and attracted between 3,000 and 4,000 visitors.
“All the pubs were full and there was not a room to be had anywhere in the village,” said chamber member and parish councillor John Benson.
“Some shops were quieter as the focus was out on the streets. But all those people who came into Grassington thought it was a charming place and very picturesque.
“The atmosphere in the village was unbelievably good. In fact, it was quite overwhelming.”
The festivities started with a Lindy Hop Dance in the town hall. “It was an absolutely amazing event and I can’t remember the town hall bouncing like that ever,” said Mr Benson.
Traders got into the spirit of the occasion and artist Rob Keep, who has a studio at The Smithy, dressed in an RAF uniform belonging to the late John Herd, who ran an electrical shop in Grassington for many years.
During the Second World War, Mr Herd was an Air Force commando, serving in North Africa, Italy, Belgium and France where he met his future wife, Suzanne Lacaille. He died in 2005.
While there was plenty of fun to be had, with re-enactments, a Spitfire simulator ride, vintage stalls and displays by the Haworth Home Guard, there was a serious side too.
There was a talk by Frank Stone, one of the few people to survive a mass escape from Stalag Luft III, which was captured in the film The Great Escape, and an open service in the village square, which remembered those lost during the war and those still serving in current conflicts.
“It was a very solemn and emotive occasion,” said Mr Benson.
So far no decision has been made on whether the event will be repeated next year.
“It will be on the agenda of the next chamber of trade meeting,” said Mr Benson. “The organisation is all done voluntarily and it was the stewards and the committee that made it happen. Without them, it would be totally impossible.”
However, the signs are positive. One man, who brought along 12 military vehicles, said Grassington was the best location he had been to and had the potential to became one of the top 1940s weekends in the country.