Town gets ready to revive the spirit of wartime

Suzanne Hames and John Buxton at Ryecorn, Bethal Street, Brighouse.
Suzanne Hames and John Buxton at Ryecorn, Bethal Street, Brighouse.

As Brighouse prepares to step back in time for the town’s 1940s weekend, traders and businesses are being urged to embrace the wartime spirit and put out the flags.

Organisers hope the town centre will be a riot of red, white and blue with bunting, flags, flowers and shop window displays bringing a splash of colour to the main streets.

The 1940s weekend from May 30 to June 2 will feature dancing, singing, re-enactments, a vintage market and vintage displays, and military vehicles. There will be a variety show and concert party, swing dance and a fly past by a wartime Spitfire.

One of the organisers Steven Lord said: “Ever since the plans for the 1940s weekend were announced, we’ve been overwhelmed by the response.It really seems to have captured people’s imagination.

“We had no idea how many people to expect - now it looks as if the streets will be packed with hundreds of visitors.

“I think people are nostalgic for the good old days - not necessarily for the dark years of the war but for the community spirit, make do and mend attitude of those times.

“There was a sense that ‘we were all in it together’ and I think people would like to get back to that.”

Special packs have been put together by Brighouse Business Initiative containing bunting, flower seeds and window tape so that traders can transform their premises.

John Buxton of Ryecorn Wholefoods in Bethel Street said: “We want the streets to be full of people in 1940s outfits, with military parades, shop window displays and food and drink from the period. We want Brighouse to look like it did in 1945.”

The build-up to the weekend’s events starts on Thursday, May 30 with a classic cinema evening at the Civic Hall. The Oscar-winning film Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, will be screened.

On Friday May 31 there will be a burlesque cabaret show at the Civic Hall and a 1940s dance with the Crown Top Kings at the Ritz Ballroom.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 1 and 2, there will be vintage military and civilian military displays, a Winston Churchill lookalike, street singers and dance lessons with the Back Step Boogie Club.

Members of Brighouse Business Initiative now hope the 1940s weekend will become a regular fixture in the calendar.

Lesley Adams of Simply Flowers said: “We are anticipating record numbers of visitors to the town.”

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