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Lavenham 1940s-themed weekend hailed as great success by organisers

PUBLISHED: 17:56 26 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:56 26 May 2018

Peter Durrant pianist at The Swan at Lavenham over the vintage weekend Picture: BRYAN PANTON

Peter Durrant pianist at The Swan at Lavenham over the vintage weekend Picture: BRYAN PANTON

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A 1940s-themed vintage weekend held in west Suffolk has been hailed as a great success by organisers.

Crowds at the Lavenham vintage weekend Picture: BRYAN PANTONCrowds at the Lavenham vintage weekend Picture: BRYAN PANTON

Hundreds of people descended on Lavenham from May 18-21 for a host of special events for visitors and villagers to enjoy – celebrating all things 1940s.

The Swan at Lavenham Hotel and Spa joined with Friends of Lavenham Airfield (FOLA) to organise the event, which was being held for the second time.

The series of special events combined 1940s and World War Two history with commemorative elements to mark the service of the 487th Bombardment Group eighth United States Air Force – who were stationed at RAF Lavenham during WWII.

Vehicles from the era were on display and village residents, shops and businesses all supported the weekend, many wearing vintage fashions.

Military vehicles were on display over the weekend Picture: BRYAN PANTONMilitary vehicles were on display over the weekend Picture: BRYAN PANTON

The warm weather ensured an excellent turnout, with the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle adding to the weekend feel-good factor.

Events began on Friday morning (May 18) with an emotional commemorative church service, and an evening history talk about Lavenham during WWII at the Guildhall was fully booked.

Saturday’s highlights included a morning wartime walk around Lavenham, vintage fair and a swing dance in the evening at the village hall.

The royal wedding was also shown during a gala lunch at The Swan Hotel.

Sunday saw a poignant ‘In Gratitude’ gathering in front of the 487th Bombardment Group memorial plaque in the Market Place.

This was followed by a visit to Lavenham Airfield, which is not normally open to the public. Some people arrived by vintage bus, others made their own way by car.

The money raised over the weekend is being put towards FOLA’S aim of creating a lasting memorial to the 233 airmen from the 487th Bombardment Group who were killed during World War Two while stationed at RAF Lavenham.

The planned memorial is to be located at Lavenham Airfield and unveiled in time for the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8, 2020.

Vintage events will continue to be held annually in Lavenham during May leading up to the VE Day’s 75th anniversary.

Between May 17-20, 2019, the commencement of operational flights by the 487th Bombardment Group will be remembered.

For more details, visit www.theswanatlavenham.co.uk/explore/vintage-weekend or call Lavenham Tourist Information Centre on 01787 248207.

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