North Thoresby’s last ever 1940s event took place over two days over the August bank holiday weekend – with over 6,000 people turning up to enjoy the fun on the Sunday.
The weekend featured terrific entertainment from Caron and Steve Mason of 52nd Street Jump/Lindy Hop club who, together with singers Hudson Lewis and GI Jill provided high-kicking entertainment to packed crowds, sitting around the lovely setting of the Square.
The 1940s event chairman Ian Wright explained how the popular annual festival had gone from strength to strength since it began 12 years ago, but that it was now time to draw to a close.
Ian said: “The weather was a great help, given our unsettled summer, and the event’s reputation has spread - attracting bigger audiences each year , and trebling over three years from the 2,000 a day to nearer 6,000 on the Sunday this year – with slightly fewer on the Monday. We’ve gone from one car park in 2017 to three car parks this year.
“This was a very successful event in every aspect. A terrific atmosphere, with people simply enjoying themselves – England at its best.
“The fact that it is the final event we intend to run added to the sense of occasion and to many expressions of thanks from the public which we much appreciate.”
Ian added that it the event went out on a high, and at the right time as: ‘everything runs its course at some point’.
He continued: “The key point about the event is the number and variety of things on offer for the whole family.
“Another important factor is it’s the setting in an English village. It has a clear identity and a distinctive character - intimate and historic. It has become a firm favourite of the 1940s enthusiasts and on the event calendar – we are constantly told by visitors that this is their favourite event.
“I would also like to thank the current committee, a marvellous group. Our achievements are as a close-knit and supportive group of friends. In addition, dozens and dozens of volunteers make the event possible – stewarding and helping in the extensive physical work of organising the site and setting it up and taking it down.”
Ian also thanked the cricketers for organising the car parking; the ‘marvellous ladies and gentleman’ in the village Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI); the activities put on at the two historic churches; the villagers who run steam engine rides and the steam organ at the event; the vast number of cakes baked by villagers to be sold in the NAAFI; sponsors Prestige Auctions of Grimsby; Cleethorpes and Grimsby Rotary Clubs for their support; and all of the stallholders, food outlets and attractions for their participation.
Ian said: “Over the 12 years, hundreds of villagers have been involved in one form or another – many for all 12 years.
“I would like to acknowledge the contribution of those who have led the event and all those who have played their part.
“We all follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before in bringing people together.
“Finally, many thanks to the 1940s enthusiasts and the general public for being our partners in such a lovely occasion.”
• Why has the committee decided to stop running the 1940s event?
Ian explained: “The objectives of the group running the event - and much more in the village - are to enhance village life and individual well-being in the village and locality. We wish to continue to build on the concept of community - people carving out a collective identity, individuals and community groups working and relaxing together.
“By organising social, recreational, and cultural events and activities we aim to entertain, educate and encourage participation in the community, for all generations. We raise and distribute funds, including applying for grants, to support and work alongside village organisations, clubs, institutions and groups in their activities in the community, to contribute to improvements in village amenities and facilities and to contribute to good causes and charities.
“Organising the 1940s Event has been part of our activities and has enabled us to establish - and finance - a whole range of ‘spin-off’ activities and events but we feel that it has now run its course.
“Essentially, our decision is based on the view that our efforts are best based on smaller scale village-focused events and activities which are much more easily managed, much less time-consuming, which do not involve extensive expense nor the risks based on unpredictability of the weather and the inherent issues involved in being responsible for what has become a significant public event - i.e. a vast amount of bureaucracy and detailed management.
“We have risen to these challenges and - as a team and a community - we are justly proud of what we have achieved - but our prime concern is not to run a 1940s Event for the public but to continually help build a community and generate involvement in community life - alongside the great work done by other groups in the village.
“Having analysed our priorities, we simply feel that organising an event on the scale that it has become, is not the best fit for our objectives.”