Fictional village pulls in hundreds of visitors to Fordingbridge

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A ONE-OFF festival pulled in the crowds as hundreds of people crammed St Mary’s Church Hall in Fordingbridge to see it transformed into the fictional 1914 village of Fordwick, raising about £10,000.

The 1914 Remembered – Portrait of a Village four-day festival replaced the church’s traditional patronal festival this year, to mark the centenary of the First World War.

Parishioner Janet Newman and a band of volunteers turned the hall into a life-size village complete with cottages, tea rooms, a sweet shop where you could buy old-fashioned sweets, a railway station, a hardware shop, pub, village church, village green and exhibitions, from before the beginning of the First World War.

For the last few months people have been busy making the village two evenings a week and all day on Saturdays and on July 4, people were treated to their first glimpse of a bygone age.

Mrs Newman, who starred as Katurah Fortescue at the festival, said: “The children at Fordingbridge and Breamore schools have loved Fordwick. It has been a wonderful community event. We started building the scenes in February and since then we have had lots of people offering help and lending us pieces of equipment or artefacts. Fordwick has pulled in the whole community, particularly the men of Fordingbridge.”

Along with the replica village, there was a display of vintage vehicles and stalls, along with country dancing by Fording-bridge Junior School pupils and music by the Bridges Brass Training Band.

Laudamus Choir, Fording-bridge Handbell Ringers, and Robert West and friends performed music on the village green while tower tours took place over the weekend.

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