Wartime weekend raises spirits and funds
12:02pm Wednesday 4th September 2013 in News
BARRY Island went to war last weekend with a series of ‘40s themed vintage events at its second ever Wartime celebration.
The annual event brought the town’s summer events to an explosive end - while helping to raise funds needed to support the Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre.
Event organiser Ade Pitman said: “Heritage railways are the perfect location for 1940s themed or vintage events, and the Barry Tourist Railway is no exception.
“Bringing the unique steam rail-motor to Barry was a stroke of genius. The appearance of this train in Wales ensured a following to the event, even before we added our 1940s element.
“Our line up of jeeps along the front of the railway station proved popular, but the highlight was the life-sized replica Spitfire. Taking 28 years to build using real Spitfire parts, this Mark IX Spitfire is quite simply the best example in the UK, and it was a real draw to the Barry Wartime Weekend.”
The Barry at War Group raised funds to run the Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre, based at Barry Island railway station, by holding a raffle to sit in the Spitfire.
Ade said: “Our wartime museum doesn`t receive any public funding, so we rely on events such as this to enable us to improve the museum and to fund our out-reach work, such as assisting the RAF Association display at Barry Library this Saturday.’’
’’A key part of any wartime weekend is the live forties entertainment, and we had three of the best in the business at our event.”
Former Butlins Barry Island Red Coat, and Care Home Idol nominee Sandy Sparkle joined Paul and Natasha Harper to bring the forties sounds to the resort while the Back to 43 evening of nostalgia on Saturday night sold out, with most of the audience of the older generation.
Ade said: “Combined with the 1940s re-enactors in the audience, there was a fantastic atmosphere brought to a climax by everyone singing Land of Hope and Glory followed by both the British and Welsh national anthems. It was like the last night of the proms in Barry.
“With all this nostalgia, the audience seemed unsure just what decade we were in, singing a mixture of God save the Queen, and God save the King as back in 1943 King George V was on the throne.”
The Weekend closed with a jeep convoy around Barry Island.
Ade added: ‘’ Once again the Barry Wartime Weekend proved that heritage events can bring tourism to Barry in large numbers, despite strong competition from the many events being held in Cardiff that same weekend.
“As the reputation of the Barry Wartime Weekend being a premier event at a prime location continues to grow, with a massive Internet buzz currently surrounding this weekend’s event, our plans for next year`s event aim to mark the Centenary of the Great War, and the part that the area played.”
The group thanked sponsors, Barry Town Council, Spectrum Displays, Newydd, Needitcreated Ltd, Dow Corning, Premier Inn and John`s Cafe for their generosity.
Director of the Barry Tourist Railway, John Buxton added: ‘’This year`s Barry Wartime Weekend has proved to be our busiest event so far, and we hope to build on this. Next year we`re hoping to have the Red Arrows perform a display over Barry Island.’’
For more details about Barry at War, log onto www.barryatwar.info or visit the Glamorgan Wartime Heritage Centre, at Barry Island railway station, from 2pm-4pm Wednesday afternoons.
Admission is free.