Success; Radipole Gardens Goes All Out in True Patriotic WWII style.
Well, that’s the final big event of our year done and dusted and boy did we go out with bloody big bang in true patriotic WWII style!
Greeting the crowds coming to our event was this Big Beast shown below.
This monster vehicle was parked out in the tennis club car park (sadly minus the even bigger tracked beast who would have been on her back had she not blown something to do with oil.) She guzzled approx £100 in fuel for owner Colvyn Gillmon just to get here here from Dorchester!
Though our 1940’s Big Fun Day was a cracking success, of course that only happens with the help and support of so many people.
From those owners of military vehicles who agreed to come along, including well known Weymouthian Poppy Butcher and her crew and Andrew Broxham, and play a vital part of our 1940’s day. One chap, Tony Smykowski from the All Forces Re-enactment Assocoaition (AFRA), even drove for 2 hours to be here.
It blew me away when talking to these folk just how expensive it is buying and maintaining their stunning vehicles and the authentic displays that go alongside them. Their ‘hobby’ if it’s not an insult to call it that, runs into thousands.
Why do they do it?
So they can share their passion with other people who have an interest in the era, but what was most amazing was they actually do this for free!
Many other people joined in the spirit of the day and decked themselves out in true 1940’s style, including cast members from Weymouth Drama Club who came along in full war time Goodnight Mr Tom costumes.
Children of all ages had plenty to keep them amused from session of kids yoga to henna tattoo and glitter or face-painting.
This happy young lady was very eager to pose and show off her tiger face.
The sun finally ordained to peek through the clouds and lit the willows draped with colourful bunting and flags.
Even some of the stall holders got into the 1940’s way of thinking.
Linda from Dog Friendly Weymouth along with her two kelpies, Mollie and Bruce gave demonstrations on how dogs were put to work during the war and had a fascinating display of their achievements.
Soon the gardens were heaving.
What was great to see was that many of the golden generation turned out to enjoy our green space and what was on offer, our Heritage tent remained packed for most of the day. Everyone reminiscing over the old images of Weymouth, in particular the display of Weymouth during both WWI and WWII, many of which were kindly loaned us from Weymouth museum.
The thing I love about manning our Heritage tent is that you get to meet and chat with so many interesting people and even asked a variety of questions on all manner of subjects.
This event’s display in particular revealed our park’s links to WWI and WWII.
I was thrown though when a foreign lady came up to me and asked ‘what are those ration books for?’ I must have looked somewhat perplexed, wondering if maybe she was testing me on my wartime knowledge…but no. She explained that where she came from they had no food shortages during the war and hadn’t realised that as a nation we had been in dire straits as far as food was concerned.
I tried my best to explain that being an island nation a lot of our supplies were imported, which of course meant it was vulnerable to attack at sea.
She was fascinated and after a lengthy discussion on how we should all be more self-sustaining, went away happy with a bit more knowledge of our island’s history.
Of course, what would an event be without entertainment?
From the talented Amber Lights…
…to some stirring music by the Mill Street Jazz Band and the Decadettes.
But the biggest benefit of all that day was the amount of people who came into the gardens who had never visited before. I lost count of the amount of times I was told that they had driven down Radipole Park Drive hundreds of times, past the trees, little realising what a green gem lay behind them and weren’t they beautiful.
To us that’s music to our ears. We are passionate about our park and gardens and we so want other people to love them too.
That’s why we do what we do.
For your entertainment a couple of live captures of the day, thanks to
Peter Lythgoe’s Zzipp Media; https://youtu.be/koK8K54PojY
are being supported by