Forties in the Fields at Haveringland church
2017: Haveringland Parish Church marked the seventieth anniversary of the closure of RAF Swannington with a Forties-themed social on Friday June 30, which had people dancing in the aisles and singing along to wartime classics.
The unique church, located on the edge of the former RAF air base, played host to Norfolk music act “Timescape” who are regular fixtures at the Forties Weekend at Sheringham on the North Norfolk Coast. Over 100 people converged on the church, along with vintage cars and military vehicles. The crowds were also blessed by a fly past of wartime aircraft thanks to friends based at Felthorpe airfield.
Team Vicar, Rev’d Andrew Whitehead, said “The church in Haveringland is used for several
more conventional church services during the year, but its unique location has led to a
tradition of spectacular outdoor harvest festivals. When the anniversary of the Swannington base’s closure came up in discussion, we thought we should see if we could do something
special as part of the Twelve Towers Festival, which might use the church building in a
The event attracted people from far and wide, with the majority in period dress. The food
on offer had a wartime theme, with SPAM sandwiches and wartime cake recipes in
evidence. The event also had a “Ration Raffle” where many of the prizes were things
which would have been highly prized under rationing, such as tea, sugar and exotic fruit.
Local historian, Mike Hillier, was on hand during the event to answer people’s questions
about the airfield and to show them just how close the RAF Mosquitos got to the church
building. Mike is involved in the planning of a special remembrance event at the church
on Saturday November 11, which will give an opportunity to mark the anniversary in a
more formal way.
Forties in the Field marked the end of the popular Twelve Towers Festival, which ran
across the churches of the Aylsham and District Ministry Team during the month of June.
Photos of the event are courtesy of Eddie Whiting.
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