World War years brought back to life in West Norfolk for charity

War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton
Carole Wheeler
War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton Carole Wheeler

The biting cold of the weekend failed to deter volunteer helpers and re-enactors during a second war-themed charity weekend in West Norfolk.

Despite the unseasonal weather, this year’s two-day War at the Hollow re-enactment was even bigger and bigger.

War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton
Left to right Pete Sudder, Chris Buck and Garry Prismall

War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton Left to right Pete Sudder, Chris Buck and Garry Prismall

Re-enactors and volunteers travelled from Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire for the two-day spectacular after the huge success of last year’s pilot event.

A fantastic total of £1,200 was raised for the Breast Cancer Unit Development Fund at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital at Lynn.

Visitors were able to meet local historians, discuss the displays in “Bunker Cafe”, whilst enjoying hot soup, bacon buns, tea and home-made cakes and then go for a journey back in time.

On entering the site they were able to wander through World War One trenches, meet soldiers who explained their daily lives and experience simulated gas attacks.

War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton
Mark Bailey and Dave Wheeler

War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton Mark Bailey and Dave Wheeler

Visitors moved onto a WW1 encampment to meet a WW1 soldier from the US and a Canadian WW1 nurse before walking along to the Lovat Scout Memorial to reflect.

The arena had a daily live action display set in a post invasion Britain where Nazi Germany had won and Churchill’s Secret Army had been activated.

There were lots of bangs and machine gun fire with some hilarious moments as a little boy warned a German sentry about to be “taken out” that “he’s behind you”.

Nigel Day, managing director of Dreamy Hollow Leisure, said: “We had a fantastic team of volunteers that I enjoyed working with and hope to be with again next year.

War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton
Mark Taylor and Reuben Harvey

War at the Hollow re-enactment weekend at Bircham Newton Mark Taylor and Reuben Harvey

“Freebridge kindly let us use the old community centre (a former Cold War listening bunker) at Monks Close, Bircham Newton, for displays and a cafe in addition to their playing field for visiting military vehicles and parking.

“A band of local volunteers supported the re-enactors who gave their time and displays for free.”