Bumper year of events for bustling town

Dorset Echo: MEMORIES: Bridport Heritage forum members Muriel Finucane and Sheila Meaney, right, with memories from WW1 for a new exhibition MEMORIES: Bridport Heritage forum members Muriel Finucane and Sheila Meaney, right, with memories from WW1 for a new exhibition

THIS year is looking like a bumper year in Bridport with a calendar of events guaranteed to entice residents and tourists alike.

Bridport Town Council surveyor Daryl Chambers said: “The list of events is unbelievable. It is going to be a fantastic and busy year.”

Although not claiming to be comprehensive the town council’s administrative officer and mayor’s secretary Linda Bullock has compiled a list of the year’s events – so far – and there are already more than 60 planned.

There will be all the town’s favourites, such as the carnival, Arts Weeks, food festival, charter fair, regatta, raft race, West Bay Day, the Melplash Show, Apple Day, Bridport Literary Festival, Open Book, Hat Festival, fireworks and the Christmas Festival.

They maybe the biggest and the best known but there will be a number of new events - a live music festival on Asker Meadows, a Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance organised cycle challenge and a Ropewalk fair, as well as the headlining Rifles march in June.

One of the major events in particular will be Bridport Heritage Forum’s events to mark the 100 years since the start of World War 1.

As well as a parade, church service and music and word event based around the names on the war memorial, there will be a major two-and-a- half-week exhibition in the town hall in August, called Keep the Home Fires Burning.

Forum member Sheila Meaney is leading much of the research. She said the theme of the exhibition was wider than just the war and was about Bridport 100 years ago, at home and away.

She said: “We have a £10,000 heritage lottery grant and we will be commemorating the anniversary of the First World War by looking at the Bridport 100 years ago.

“We are not just dwelling on the war aspect, we are looking at what was going on at home at the same time.”

The home fires exhibition will include the set of a Bridport living room, a section of trench, a mock up of a recruitment office, a French café where troops would have gone for their rest and relaxation.

There will also be a section on how horses were used, rationing, the logistics of how troops got fed and watered in the trenches, a section on keeping in touch, the rope and net industry, which had lots of MoD contracts and the different places that people from Bridport served.

Mrs Meaney is also researching the stories of all the names on the war memorial and has 70 so far. She said: “There will be a story for every name. I am very keen that they are more than just a name that people read as they walk past.”

Those stories will be in a booklet in St Mary’s and Bradpole church. A full list of the year’s events can be obtained from Bridport Town Council.

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