REGULARS at a Meltham pub were fed up of reading about successful events run in neighbouring villages.
Then one of them went on a 1940s weekend and came back to the Waggon and Horses to tell his friends about it.
“We could do that,” they thought.
Now, five years on, the Meltham Memories weekend has become the major event in the village’s annual calendar and all profits are donated to Help for Heroes.
It’s an unqualified success which last year attracted some 8,000 visitors from as far away as Kent, bringing a massive boost to local businesses. And this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better than ever.
The two people largely responsible for setting it up are chairman Steve Aldred and treasurer Pam Cox. Every year they and their dedicated committee devote countless hours to organise the most anticipated weekend of the year.
The event has not only put the village on the tourist map, it has brought the whole community together with grandparents, parents, toddlers and schoolchildren all taking an active part.
The 1940s festival transports Meltham back in time for two glorious days. Women with fur stoles, fully-fashioned stockings and vintage hair styles wander through the streets.
They are accompanied by men in World War Two uniforms and children from the village’s three schools dressed as evacuees.
They watch the impressive cavalcade of military vehicles, which last year took over 30 minutes to pass and the military re-enactment on the school fields.
Tea dances, 1940s singers and bands in every pub, concerts, a dance orchestra, a vintage craft fair, afternoon tea, church services, displays of military vehicles and a Spitfire fly-by are just some of the attractions.
According to Pam Cox, the spirit of 1940s austerity and rationing has touched a chord with people and made them realise how lucky they are.
“Last year the event was massive,” she said. “The butcher ran out of meat and the fish and chip shop ran out of fish!
“We think this year will be even bigger. It’s amazing how friendly everyone is – it’s a lovely atmosphere.”
The sixth Meltham Memories weekend will be held from Friday July 5 to Sunday July 7.