Whitby goes to war in an effort to bring back the blitz spirit

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Fans of the forties are set to go to war against funding issues and recreate their own blitz spirit.

Guest house owner, Linda Cudworth, and a small group of Whitby at war fans are trying to build up a programme of events to take place in the town during war weekend.

The annual event mainly takes place in Pickering on usually the second weekend in October, in conjunction with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

It continues to gather steam and is reaching saturation point as more and more people descend on the market town.

Attempts were made a few years ago by the borough council and Welcome to Yorkshire to hold events at Dock End to try to relieve some of the pressure and create an off-season tourism boost for Whitby.

There are already events and attractions taking place at Goathland and Grosmont.

However, over the 0ast couple of years it has dwindled as lack of funds means resources have been shifted elsewhere but Linda argues there is a call forWhitby to go to war.

Linda said: “It was to do with funding. I approached the borough council last year but they weren’t bothered. They told me the money had gone elsewhere and it hit a brick wall.”

Over war weekend this year she organised an evening dance at The Met and a forties singer, Katie Mustang, to entertain at Dock End.

They were joined by the Teesside branch of the Parachute Regiment Association and there were re-enactors in the afternoon as well as raffles and tombolas.

After a successful second year of managing their own war weekend in Whitby, she and husband John have already started planning another for 2015.

There is a demand, argues Linda from Heathfield B&B on Prospect Hill, for the event to return and grow, but admits it is unlikely to be on the same scale as it was when it was run by the Whitby and District Tourism Association.

Linda added: “I can’t get it to be as big as it was years ago with street parties and parades.

“I can’t do that on my own but we do need more input.

“ It is no good the council saying there is no-one bothered in Whitby because people are.

“A lot of people stay in Whitby, go to Pickering for the day and come back and there are a lot of people coming to Whitby that are getting a bit fed up in Pickering because it has got too big.

“We don’t want to take anything away from Pickering but I organsied this year’s events because I thought there was a call for it.

“There were that many people and I could have sold the tickets again. I sold over 200 and it was a good event.”

Chris Wales, the manager of The Met, the Co-op and Sainsbury’s supermarkets, the Whistlestop Café, Esk Valley Railway Community Rail Partnership and Northern Rail all got involved in this year’s Whitby events.

Linda added: “This is only our second year of arranging a 40s event at Whitby, yet the support has been so fantastic.

“I cannot praise enough the support received from Whitby residents and businesses who have helped make the whole day and the evening dance such a runaway success.”