Barnard Castle traders to be quizzed over 1940s weekend
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
TOWN centre traders are to be asked for their views on the format of Barnard Castle’s 1940s weekend.
Thousands turned out for the event, which mayor Cllr Sandra Moorhouse described as “fantastic”.
However, with many of the activities concentrated on Scar Top and in the castle grounds – and just a handful of stalls at one end of the Market Place cobbles – she said she was eager to hear what the town traders had to say.
A good number of stores entered into the spirit of the event and designed 1940s-style shop windows.
Cllr Moorhouse said: “The atmosphere was brilliant, however, I am really concerned about the shop trade round the town when we don’t have the cobbles full.
“I would hate them (the traders) to feel they are not part of the event. We have got to reassess it all – it might be that they prefer the parking on the cobbles.
“We will have a bit of a survey with them.”
Meanwhile, Historic England’s decision to offer free entry to the castle grounds proved a hit with visitors.
On Saturday, more than 2,200 people passed through the gates. Although Sunday was quieter, hundreds more took advantage of the offer.
As well as a look round the castle, Teesdale Lions Club had laid on some traditional games – including a coconut shy – and there was a chance for people to see the plans for the sensory garden.
Kerry Dominick, from Barnard Castle, took her children along on Saturday – and were back again on Sunday.
It was the first time since childhood she had been inside the castle and the children’s first visit.
This year’s competition for the best 1940s shop window display was won by Oxfam, with Butterwick Hospice and Ranters Yard highly commended.
The competition was judged by Clive McCeag, owner of the Morritt Hotel, which sponsors the contest.
He said he was impressed by the thought and effort which had gone into all of the entries.
Volunteers at both Oxfam and The Butterwick Hospice shops had kept aside items suitable for a 1940s display as they had been donated, while Ranters Yard had added an “unexploded bomb” to the outside of the shop, on The Bank, to catch people’s eye.
Mr McCeag said he had been so impressed by the entries, he hoped to organise a reception at the hotel for those who had taken part.
Other highlights of the weekend included a Spitfire flypast from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, a vintage fair in the Methodist church hall and an ops room in Woodleigh, plus a host of displays.
Three re-enactment groups all celebrating the role of the airborne forces, carried out a live firing display on both days to highlight the 77th anniversary of their formation.
Both evening concerts – at The Hub on Friday night and the Parish hall on Saturday – attracted large audiences, and there was live music and the chance to dance on the entertainment area outside Woodleigh on both days.