Story & photos: John Mellor
A lively and enjoyable family evening was held at St Peter's Ellesmere as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations. It took the form of a family "40's Night", attended by nearly 80 people of all ages between 1 and 96.
The comperes for the evening were Ian and Sheilagh Hartley of GI Jive in Brooklands, Manchester.
They are professional dance teachers and both performed themselves and taught us the Okey Kokey, St Bernard's Waltz, Lindy Hop, Style Jive and other 1940's dances with great enthusiasm. Young and old joined in together and there were also topical games for the children, such as "pin the roundel on the Spitfire" and "pass the parcel".
After all this exercise everyone had a healthy appetite for the food which followed. Each person was issued with a replica war-time 'ration book' for the meal which reflected food available in the 1940s. There was an appetising homemade meat and potato pie with mushy peas and gravy followed by jelly and ice cream.
Guests had the option of turning up in 1940's style clothing and there were some imaginative creations which were entered into a competition, judged by Ian and Sheilagh.
Archive posters ('From the Home Front') on the walls reflected the seriousness of the war-time threat to the country with captions such as 'Join the ATS (Auxilliary Territorial Service)', 'Auxilliary Firemen Wanted' . 'ARP (Air Raid Protection) - Serve to Save', 'Use spades not ships - grow your own food'.
Ann Gilbert (96) lived in Lyons Street in 1940 when a bomb landed near her house but failed to explode. Commenting on the 1940's event, she said, "It was a wonderful evening and brought back many memories".
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