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Gloucestershire Business News

What's On: Wartime spirit returns to the Cotswolds

Where: Winchcombe, Toddington, Gotherington and Cheltenham Racecourse stations

When: Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, 2017

Soak up some wartime nostalgia this weekend as GWR and its volunteers step back over 75 years to the 1940s.

The Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway has joined forces with Winchcombe for its Wartime in the Cotswolds event, with a vintage bus service linking Winchcombe station, at Greet, with the town centre.

On Saturday and Sunday visitors will be able to soak up the wartime atmosphere in this light-hearted effort to get a taste of what life was like when there were all sorts of restrictions on travel, rationing and shortages of food and luxuries. It was also a time when the country was buoyed by camaraderie and music.

John Rodgers, one of the co-ordinators, says: "You can expect plenty of cameos performed by re-enactors from all over the country at all of the stations, as well as on trains.

"There's a packed programme of musical entertainment and a chance to dance your cares away.

"You might even find yourself caught up in a 1940s wedding or, on Sunday, a special Remembrance Service."

Attractions at Toddington include a Spitfire replica aircraft with working engine; 1940s beauty salon, the acclaimed RAF Plotting Room, as well as lots of military and period vehicles and hardware while the narrow-gauge railway is operating.

The marquee is hosting plenty of musical entertainment, including the Glenn Miller-style Kalamazoo Dance Band.

Picture: Colin Manton

At Winchcombe station take part in the air-raid shelter experience and meet Worcestershire Home Guard, the Allied Axis Society and 'Dig for Victory' display, as well as a field hospital.

King George VI along with Field Marshall Montgomery will be visiting Winchcombe on both days at Abbey Terrace and will rouse townsfolk to put their all into the war effort.

Gay Fryer of the Sue Ryder shop in Winchcombe and who has been co-ordinating the town's effort, says: "I'm so thrilled that the town has entered into the spirit of the occasion.

"Shops are putting on themed displays and staff will be wearing period clothing and many will have their windows taped and sandbagged just in case there is an air raid.

"On Saturday there will be musical entertainment outside the Tourist Information Centre -with plenty of encouragement to join in the singing.

"Of course we are very excited that we're going to be honoured by a Royal visit so we've really 'gone to town' with plenty of bunting."

Picture: Rob Newman

At  rural Gotherington you'll find a range of displays as well as musical entertainment and the 'NAAFI' in the station where you can enjoy a cup of tea.

At Cheltenham Racecourse - the best place to park - you will immediately enter the 1940s atmosphere before catching your steam train back in time.

Visitors are encouraged to wear British 1940s period dress, either military or civilian.

For timetables and tickets, visit www.gwsr.com 

To find out more about great upcoming events and attractions, visit our What's On  section every day. 

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