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Fears that heritage event could become a thing of past
AN event that attracts several thousand visitors to a Wensleydale town is in jeopardy unless the organisers receive sufficient support.
The Leyburn 1940s’ weekend has been held every July for the last five years. It sees the town transformed into wartime Britain with thousands of visitors arriving by steam train or by vintage bus service.
Uniforms or period costumes are the order of the day, steam traction engines and other vintage civilian and military vehicles evoke memories of the era. Many businesses see an increase in trade over the weekend and enter the sprit of things with a 1940s-style appearance and their staff appropriately dressed in period clothing.
Businessman Keith Garrard, who has been involved in the event since its inception, says that the event has got bigger every year.
However, he insists that if the event is to continue, the organisers need more help and has called a meeting to discuss the future of the event.
He explained: “Darron Hainsworth who ran it last year has said he will not be involved this year. I too have been involved since the beginning but feel that it is time for others to step forward. We do get some help but not enough.
“The weekend is great for the town and I love seeing all the visitors, but if the event is to continue we need more help. The actual work is not hard but needs to be done by more people.”
As reported in last week’s Darlington & Stockton Times, Leyburn has received £10,000 from the national Mary Portas market town initiative, some of which could be used for the 1940s’ weekend. Should sufficient support be forthcoming, the local business association is looking to appoint a paid administrator to oversee this along with other similar celebrations held in the town.
The volunteers are needed to perform tasks such as assisting with car parking, filling sandbags, and helping organise the dance held at Wensleydale School.
Mr Gerrard said: “We all hope the event continues but I feel we need the public meeting to firstly see if Leyburn wants the weekend to continue and if it does then volunteers need to come forward.”
The meeting to discuss the future of the 1940s’ weekend will take place on Tuesday, November 20, at 7pm at the Golden Lion Hotel, Leyburn. Anyone interested in helping with the weekend is invited to attend.