Brighouse 1940s Weekend: £1 million reasons for celebration

Brighouse 1940s weekend. Photo by Nic Scott
Brighouse 1940s weekend. Photo by Nic Scott

A massive £1 million was added to the local economy thanks to the tens of thousands of visitors to this year’s Brighouse 1940s weekend.

That was the message from jubilant organisers who are celebrating a “record breaking” year for the event, where people flocked from across the country, and the world, to the town.

Organised by the Brighouse Business Initiative (BBI) and run entirely by volunteers, the event, now established as one of the premier 40s events in the country, drew an estimated 120,000 people into the town over the weekend.

And organisers say every hotel room in the area was sold out as crowds flocked to enjoy the party atmosphere of the VE day theme.

Lesley Adams, chairman of the BBI, said: “Its been another great weekend for Brighouse - it’s going to be worth more than £1 million.

“This event is now one of the most popular in Yorkshire and has really put Brighouse on the map as a tourist destination.

“We do it to keep the town busy and it has created a wonderful community spirit.

“It’s getting people into Brighouse who have never been before - that’s the whole point and we’re really pleased.

“Someone spoke to me who had come from Texas. They were visiting Yorkshire but had made a special trip over to Brighouse.”

The BBI was set up in the hope of creating a thriving town centre for Brighouse and Lesley says the 1940s weekend has achieved just that.

“I think there’s a real sense of optimism and hope in the town. You get lovely comments from people in Brighouse,” she added.

“When you look at other towns you see that shops are shutting, but we’ve had two shops open this week.

“When we first started, we got laughed at and now we’re booking coaches of people in. The buses coming into Brighouse over the weekend were full, with standing room only, and leaving empty.

“Here’s to next year.”

And the team behind the event said it was thrilled with the “100 per cent” positive feedback it had received.

Steven Lord, one of the organisers, added: “People were coming from all over the country. There was a wonderful community spirit.

“It really brought a tear to my eye. The town was packed. We had all the performers on stage singing Land of Hope and Glory, everyone was holding hands.

“Nobody would have been there and making new friends without this event.

“It’s wonderful and it’s making Brighouse an attraction for all the country.

“Its brought people together in a way that’s never happened before and its put Brighouse on the map.

“I’m very, very proud of the work we have achieved. It’s a team effort. Five years ago nobody spoke to each other. Now we all have a great time.

“We are determined to keep the town thriving. Watch this space.”

Following on from this year’s success, even more events are planned to champion Brighouse and attract as many people as possible into the town.

John Buxton, event coordinator, said: “We put on all these events in the town centre to keep the town thriving and they are completely free to attend.

“This event is worth over £1 million to the local economy and wherever possible all our suppliers and market stalls are local.

“To keep up the momentum we are very pleased to announce that we have a new event this year - Calderdale’s first ever comedy festival.”

For more information about the event, which takes place from September 28 until October 4, visit www.visitbrighouse.com.