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1940s Lavenham Commemorative Weekend 2019 - May 17-19

1940s Lavenham Commemorative Weekend 2019 - May 17-19
Start Date: 17 May 2019
Start Time: Various
End Date: 19 May 2019

Lavenham

A 1940s singalong, exhibitions, vintage vehicles, guided walks of Lavenham Airfield and a Vintage Fair are just some of activities at this year’s Lavenham 1940s Commemorative Weekend.

The weekend from Friday May 17 to Sunday May 19, organised by The Friends of Lavenham Airfield, has turned into a very popular annual event complete with vintage fair and a sea of people dressed in 40s fashion.

Lavenham airbase was famous for being the home of the 487th Bombardment Group of the 8th US Army Air Force, ‘The Mighty Eighth’ during WWII. The 487th flew 185 missions and more than 6,000 sorties whilst stationed at Lavenham during the Second World War.

 Today, The Airmen’s Bar at The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa has lovingly preserved the airmen’s signatures on its wall and memorabilia. Throughout the weekend you can view their collection of cap badges, shoulder titles, photos and US and UK servicemen’s signatures (over 850 of them). Over the weekend there will also be a special wartime memorabilia display in the McCallum Room at The Swan. Entry to the exhibition is free with donations for Friends of Lavenham Airfield.

Little Hall will host an exhibition called A Little of The Home Front. The hall was an evacuee centre during WWII and this exhibition will focus on the evacuees who came to Lavenham from a school in Bethnal Green in East London, during the Second World War. Entry fee is £5 gift aided and £4.50 standard rate.  Just opposite on the Market Place there will be WWII and vintage vehicles on display on Saturday May 18 and Sunday May 19.

You won’t go hungry over the weekend in Lavenham. During WWII Lavenham Guildhall was a British Restaurant and the Tea Room over the weekend will be marking the event with 'a WWII Special' on their café menu. Traditional afternoon teas will also be served at Lavenham Blue Vintage Tea Rooms. 

A singalong 1940s vintage tea afternoon takes place on both Friday May 17 and Saturday May 18 at 12 noon at The Swan Lavenham. You’ll be entertained by pianist Peter Durrent, playing 1940s music. 1940s vintage attire very welcome but not compulsory.  Song sheets will be supplied, so that you can sing-a-long!  Tickets are £23.50 per person.  To book, call 01787 247477.

Charles Joesten will tell the story of his cousin 2nd Lt Robert ‘Bob’ Wasson at a special talk at Lavenham Village Hall on Friday May 17. Bob was stationed at Lavenham Airfield when the 487th Bombardment Group first arrived in the villages flying B-24s. Tickets £8 in advance, £10 on the door (subject to availability). Doors open (along with the bar) at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased through the booking office on 01787 248599 (open Mon-Fri 9.30am-3pm). 

A guided walk of Wartime Lavenham takes place on Saturday May 18. The 60-minute walk starts from The Swan at 10.30am and ends at The Airmen’s Bar.  Call 01787 247477 quoting Wartime Walk to book in advance.

A Vintage Fair will take place on Saturday May 18 at Lavenham Village Hall from 10.30am to 4pm and in the evening there will be a commemorative concert at 7.30pm at St Peter and St Paul Church featuring the Wattisham Military Wives’ Choir, Bella Donna - a trio of vocalists who perform a variety of music from the post war period in the style of The Andrews Sisters, plus bell ringers. Tickets are £10, available from Lavenham Village Hall on 01787 248599.

On Sunday May 19 there will be a guard of honour parade through Lavenham starting at The Swan at 10.30am and ending at the Market Place. Led by military personnel from Mildenhall and Lakenheath, some members of visiting veteran families will also take part., followed by a service at the Market Place.

Afterwards there will be a vintage vehicle convoy to Lavenham Airfield and vintage bus trips with Felix Coaches of Long Melford to the airfield. Places cost £5 each and will go on sale on 17th May. The airfield will be open from 12.30pm to 4pm for one day only. Refreshments and snacks will be available to purchase at the airfield. A flypast will take place at 1.30pm. Entry is free with donations to the Friends of Lavenham Airfield Memorial Project.

For more details on the event visit Friends of Lavenham Airfield’s facebook page.

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