Celebration of ties to regiment at annual Caythorpe Gala
A commemorative gala has been hailed a great success after it attracted big crowds.
The annual Caythorpe Gala was held on Saturday, and counted a performance by Britain’s Got Talent finalists The D-Day Darlings as a highlight.
The event is held every year to mark the village’s ties with the 216 Airborne Signals Regiment, which was based in and around Caythorpe prior to Operation Market Garden during the second world war.
It was the first one organised by villagers Laura Leeds and Carole Atkinson.
Laura said: “Having both grown up in Caythorpe, it wasn’t a hard decision to agree to take on the organisation of the gala for either of us.
“We knew what we had to achieve, but this gala was special, it was our first one and it was also the 50th anniversary of the founding of the playing field and the commemoration of 75 years of Operation Market Garden and the Battle of Arnhem.
“We had to pull out all the stops and organise something that people would remember.”
Carole added: “After many months of organisation, on Saturday Gala Day arrived and we were blessed with sunshine and many, many visitors. Our band of volunteers were run off their feet and we were so busy we didn’t even have time for a burger!
“So many people stopped us to tell us what a wonderful time they were having. It was so rewarding. We had a plan but to know that so many people were enjoying our vision and seeing it come to life was fantastic.”
A mix of entertainment included live music, close-up magic, a dog show, routines by the Beth Cresswell School of Dance and vintage games, alongside stalls, barbecue and a grand raffle.
Meanwhile, the regiment’s Paras took on villagers in a tug of war and football match.
Laura said: “We need to thank our sponsors for enabling us to produce this year’s gala and provide such excellent entertainment. There wasn’t a seat to be found when The D-Day Darlings wrapped up the gala with an hour-long set.
“We would also like to thank our local businesses who provided us with our raffle prizes. Without our volunteers on the day the gala would not have been possible and we are so very grateful to you all.”
Carole added: “This was our first event and we’ve learnt so much from it. The gala was all about our village celebrations and commemorations with the Army, we set out to give the village an afternoon to enjoy. I’m confident that we managed to pull it off.”
A wartime heritage exhibition at Caythorpe is commemorating the 75th anniversary of South Kesteven’s role in one of the most legendary operations of the second world war — the battle for the bridges near Arnhem.
The Arnhem75 exhibition in St Vincent’s Church opens tomorrow and closes on September 22, as part of Heritage Open Days.
Artefacts loaned by the 1st Airborne Division museum at Duxford’s Imperial War Museum, including a supplies pannier and parachute, will be part of the exhibition.