Village to mark 70 years since Arnhem

St Andrew's Church, Heckington, the focus of the commemorations. EMN-140915-095957001
St Andrew's Church, Heckington, the focus of the commemorations. EMN-140915-095957001

Villagers from Heckington are putting final touches to plans for the commemoration of the Battle of Arnhem, 70 years ago this month.

Men of the 1st Airlanding Anti-Tank Battery (Royal Artillery) were stationed in Heckington during the Second World War and left from there on that fateful mission in Holland.

Events planned culminate in a weekend of commemorations.

The whole village is getting involved, with many shops and businesses dressing their windows with a wartime theme. Residents are being encouraged to display a special poster in their window, which is available to download from the church’s website: heckingtonandhelpringhamgroup.org.

Andrew Key, who is chairing the organising committee said: “Its wonderful to see how people have come together in the village to commemorate the Arnhem campaign. It will be a very special time in Heckington and we invite everyone from far and wide to come and join us.”

Thursday, September 25 sees the opening of two exhibitions in the village – ‘Arnhem and World War Two’ is in St Andrew’s Church and ‘Heckington Today’ is over the road in the Council Chambers. Entry is free to the preview evening that starts at 7.30pm. There will also be a half hour talk on Arnhem by local historian Charles Raphael.

The following day, Friday September 26, sees the exhibitions open from 11am to 4pm. Entry is free and refreshments will be available.

On Saturday, September 27, the exhibitions are open from 10am to 4pm and there is live musical entertainment in church on the hour, every hour from 11am with performances by the Cubs and Scouts, the St Andrew’s Singers, the Church Band, Heckington Singers and a Baroque Group. Entry to the exhibitions and to the musical performances is free.

On the Saturday evening there is a concert in church by the Foss Dyke Brass Band from Lincoln. Tickets, priced £7 are now available from the box office on 01529 469140.

The exhibitions are open from 12noon to 2pm on Sunday, September 28.

At 2pm the church bells will be rung and at 2.20pm the Boys and Girls Brigades Band from Sleaford will start the official commemorations at the war memorial on the Green. The Dakota from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight will fly past at 2.30pm. Standards from uniformed organisations will then participate in the Act of Remembrance. The roads around the Green will be closed to traffic for a short time while events at the War Memorial take place.

A united service of commemoration in church at 3pm, led by Ministers from all the churches in the village and involving local children will bring the weekend to a close. Seventy candles will be lit by the children to commemorate the years that have passed since the battle.

Heckington Players are putting on a cabaret evening entitled ‘nostalgia isn’t what it used to be’ with the entertainment strongly rooted in the ‘40s as part of the anniversary.

Performances are on September 19 and 20, at 7.30pm in the Village Hall.

Tickets, at £7 are available on 01529 469140.