FENLANDER: Spitfire flypast the highlight of bumper Chatteris Historic Festival

CHATTERIS is gearing itself up for a bumper Historic Festival this month - and it’s going back to its roots to prolong the festivities.

This year’s event will run for six days (June 21-26) instead of three, which represents a return to the town’s traditional week-long summer celebration.

The Second World War will be one era to receive special attention – something that is particularly fitting because the week coincides with the national Armed Forces Day.

There will be a 1940s Party Night (June 24) featuring contemporary dance lessons, singalongs and games – a chance, say the organisers, “to come along, let your hair down and forget the troubled times”.

That will be preceded by a screening of the classic film The Dambusters at the King Edward Centre (June 23) and an Armed Forces Day service at the War Memorial (June 24). There will also be a flypast by a Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (June 25).

The festival is one of the “Four Seasons” events organised by Fenland District Council in partnership with town councils and community groups.

One new addition to this year’s programme is an afternoon of children’s entertainment (June 23), sponsored by Fenland Youth District Council and organised in conjunction with the Fenland Arts Association. It will include two shows, refreshments and a circus skills workshop.

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That is balanced by an “adults only” Chaucer evening – deemed unsuitable for young people because of the bawdy nature of the 14th-century poet’s Canterbury Tales.

Other episodes from the past will be celebrated in an action-packed Schools’ Living History Day (June 24) that will include historic re-enactments from Viking, Napoleonic and Victorian times.

On the Festival’s final day (June 26) the most handsome dogs, prettiest bitches and cutest puppies will be the stars of the fun dog show.

Cllr Peter Murphy, Mayor of Chatteris and FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for community events, said: “We’ve got very high hopes for this year’s festival, which is more ambitious than ever.

“Over the six days we’ve got some great entertainment planned with something for all ages and for the grand parade on Saturday we’re hoping to have an even bigger turnout than the 1,000 or so we had last year.

“This is something not just for Chatteris but for the whole of Fenland, so I hope everyone will come along and enjoy themselves.”

• For more details of the festival programme and how to get tickets, visit www.chatterishistoricfestival.co.uk

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