Severn Valley Railway to hold virtual 1940s event

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The group behind the SVR’s ever popular Step Back to the 1940s events has come up with an exciting alternative in the face of this year’s cancellations.

Step Back to the 1940s at the SVR. Photo: Paul Hastie
Step Back to the 1940s at the SVR. Photo: Paul Hastie

They’ve launched two films to showcase a virtual version of the event, which include specially filmed performances from many of the entertainers.  As the railway’s closure continues, organisers hope to raise further funds for the SVR.

The films are available online through the Severn Valley Railway channel on YouTube and include a wide range of atmospheric footage from previous events, interspersed with songs and music. Putting together the virtual event has been a labour of love for the committee, as vice chairman Paul Bowler explains:

“We wanted to maintain the level of interest in all things SVR so that we are at the top of the list ‘places to visit’ when this crisis is over. We decided to create a virtual event for those who had planned to visit this year, and encourage those who have never been, to join us in 2021. It is vital therefore that the virtual event replicates the standard of the real event, and I believe that we have achieved that, with a production that we can all be proud of. Viewers will see performances, specially created by the entertainers who would have been with us, along with clips from past years and some tear-jerking moments at those points where emphasis is put on remembrance.

“The SVR’s 1940s weekends are the benchmark against which all other similar event are measured. These are serious revenue earners for the SVR, and not being able to welcome the public this year is another element of financial loss. For committees past and present, the priority has always been one of education. We believe it to be important that we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom, and to inform generations that followed the scale and importance of those sacrifices.”

The SVR’s Step Back to the 1940s weekends have been held since the mid-1990s and they normally take place at the end of June and beginning of July. Organisers hope that the virtual celebration films will encourage further donations to the SVR’s Fight Back Fund at svrtrust.org.uk.

The railway is planning for an August reopening and an announcement on how to pre-book tickets is expected in early July.

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