Tribute Act to the Forces Sweetheart Vera Lynn to perform at Churnet Valley Railway This May Bank Holiday Weekend
Churnet Valley Railway (Staffordshire) is gearing up for the return of its annual Forties event, running from Friday 24th May to Monday 27th May inclusive. Rebranded in 2019 to Staffordshire at War Operation: Oatcake, the popular event has been extended this year to cover four days of activities. The railway’s main station, Froghall Staffordshire will host the majority of the event entertainment.
The event showpiece has arrived at Froghall Station, with a genuine WW2 M18 Hellcat arriving on site ahead of loading onto the railways tank carrier wagon – an added attraction as a military vehicles will be transported behind one of the day’s service locomotives throughout the event. This will also be the first time that a full Tank has been displayed in this manner.
There will be several other military vehicles on display for people to look at and discover during the weekend, as well as a variety of new and old attractions for the line’s new format. Froghall will once again be the Allied base, with troops preparing for deployment. There will be an entertainment tent with a variety of singers performing throughout the weekend, and dance lessons with Charleston Dance Group.
Taking pride of place in Froghall will be two airborne replicas – both a Messerschmitt ME109 and Spitfire with opportunities to pose in replica uniforms alongside these iconic machines. Each evening, entertainment will be provided from 5pm, with Dads Army and Vera Lynn providing a warm-up before the main shows kick off at 7pm. An evening service will be in operation to ensure visitors can make it to Froghall each evening and get home once the performance has finished. The Spiv’s Bar, with Black Market BBQ, will be running every day from midday until late.
Steam trains will run along the line for visitors to discover what life was like in Britain and occupied Europe during the war. Each station along the line will take on the identity of a different location where there will be a wide variety of interactive attractions along with costumed re-enactors who will be on hand to help tell the wartime story.
Event dates & times: Friday 24th 3pm – 9pm, Saturday 25th & Sunday 26th 11am – 11pm, Monday 27th 11am – 6pm
Tickets cost : Adults (16-59 years) £20.00 / Children ( 4-15 years) £12.00 / Children under 4 Free / Seniors (60+) £15.00
Evenings only (start time 4pm): £5.00 – included if day ticket purchased
Families (2 adults + 2 children) : £45.00
Kingsley & Froghall:
Kingsley & Froghall station is the current southern terminus of operations with the station area itself having recently been incorporated into the ever-expanding Froghall Military Camp. With preparations for D-Day in the full swing the station and camp has become a hive of activity with both personnel and equipment arriving for manoeuvres in the Moorlands in preparation for the forthcoming operation. Military personnel from the camp are also providing additional protection to the former Thomas Bolton Copperworks site that has become a top-secret storage facility for military equipment – remember careless talk costs lives!
Key attractions at Kingsley & Froghall include:
- Allied forces undertaking various training in preparation for manoeuvres
- Display of allied military vehicles
- RAF display with a Spitfire and a captured Messerschmitt ME109 – don genuine RAF uniform and have your picture taken with the Spitfire (extra fees apply)
- Live music throughout the day
- Learn how to do the Charleston Step, Jitterbug and other popular 1940’s dances in a dance lesson
- Allied Troop Inspection
- See the Walmington on Sea Home Guard (Dad’s Army) antics as they do there best to keep Kingsley & Froghall villagers safe
- Dambusters Display
This once backwater village has turned into a hive of activity since it has become the hub of operations for the British Forces who have set up their command post here while they are undertaking key training in preparation for operations in Europe.
Key attractions at Consall include:
- British Forces Camp
- Display of Allied Military vehicles and equipment
- Women’s Land Army
Welcome to occupied Europe! This formerly quaint French village had been under occupation for around four years but has recently been liberated by allied forces. Life is starting to get back to normal with the villagers going about their everyday life going to the hairdressers, visiting the local shops and relaxing in the café at the station. There are rumours circulating that Axis forces are regrouping and may attempt to retake the village. Is the Villages [peaceful life about to be disturbed again and who will win the final battle for Nouvion?
Key attractions at Nouvion include:
- Visit the Hairdresser and get your victory rolls done (Extra Fee Applies)
- Live music throughout the day
- Axis re-enactors and displays
- Axis Troop Inspections
- Daily Live Battle for Nouvion
- Vintage Stalls selling clothing and memorabilia
Evening Entertainment – Kingsley & Froghall Station:
On the Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings the Allied Forces will be hosting numerous events to entertain the troops and local villagers in the spirit of raising moral and keeping the home fires burning.
Friday Evening – “Know your Allies”
Enjoy live musical entertainment on the station concourse to get you ‘In the Mood’ for the forthcoming weekend. While taking in the music and atmosphere why not enjoy some refreshments available from The Signal Tearoom or an off the ration book alcoholic beverage from The Spiv’s Bar. If you feel like a journey down the line to get a preview of some of the attractions at the other stations then a train service will be running into the early evening.
Saturday Evening – Big Band Show
Nothing takes you back to the atmosphere of the 1940’s like a live big band performing all the great hits from the war years. Guaranteed to get your feet tapping and your legs swinging, sit back and enjoy the music or even get up and dance along. If you’ve never danced The Charleston Step or The Jive but fancy giving it a go then please join in with the dance lessons that will be part of the show. Refreshments will be available from The Spiv’s Bar and Signal Tearooms.
Sunday Evening – Salute to the 1940’s
Join us for a star-studded evening in the Churnet Valley Railway’s Salute to the 1940’s. With performances from Vera Lynn, George Formby, Gracie Fields, The Andrews Sisters and other tribute acts this is sure to be a night to remember. Feel free to sing-a-long, tap your feet or get up and have a dance as the acts perform the hits of the era. Refreshments will be available from The Spiv’s Bar and the Signal Tearooms.
Churnet Valley Railway
Churnet Valley Railway was founded in 1992 and its first passenger service ran in 1998. It is located in Staffordshire just southwest of the Peak District, near Leek, Stoke-on-Trent and Alton Towers. With the help of a team of volunteers, the company runs a nostalgic railway experience – both steam and diesel – across five stations: Kingsley & Froghall, Consall, Cheddleton, Leek Brook Junction, and Ipstones. Trains run on selected dates throughout the year. Afternoon teas, refreshments and food are available on selected trains and at selected stations. Experiences include the opportunity to learn to drive a train, cream teas, afternoon teas, themed dining trains, lunch train, brunch train and supper train. Three stations are available to hire for weddings.
Phone: 01538 750 755
Address: Churnet Valley Railway (1992) plc, Kingsley and Froghall Station, Froghall, Staffordshire, ST10 2HA