Explore a Second World War bunker at the three-day Harborough at War show this summer

The huge event will be held at the Showground site in August

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 8:48 pm
Matthew Oliver and Amy Oliver unveiled the plaque on the Anderson shelter.
Matthew Oliver and Amy Oliver unveiled the plaque on the Anderson shelter. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The brothers in arms behind the huge three-day Harborough at War show are thrilled to have been donated a wartime Anderson shelter.

Mick Crook and his brother Steve are seen here unveiling the famous Second World War bunker at the Showground site on Gallowfield Road on the northern edge of Market Harborough

And the iconic shelter made to protect families from German bombers is now ready to take pride of place when they stage their second Harborough at War spectacular at the showground in August.

Marie and Mick Crook inside the refurbished Anderson shelter. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Ecstatic Steve Crook told the Harborough Mail: “We are elated to have been handed this Anderson shelter by the family of Evelyn Stafford.

“Evelyn sadly died about six months ago and her family inherited her house in Northampton.

“Luckily for us they realised that she had an Anderson shelter at her home – because it’s often mistaken for a pig pen unfortunately.

“They decided to gift it to a worthwhile local charity and they’ve chosen us,” added Steve, who’s based in Market Harborough.

Ethel Friday whose sister Evelyn Stafford donated the Anderson Shelter with Mick Crook. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“We would like to say a very big thank you to Evelyn’s loved ones for thinking of us, we really appreciate their outstanding generosity.

“I’d also like to salute my brother Mick after he’s helped to make this happen.

“This really has been a case of Brothers in Arms in action!”

Invented in 1938 as war with Nazi Germany loomed over the horizon, Anderson shelters could accommodate up to six people and were made of galvanised corrugated steel panels.

The Anderson shelter donated by the family of Evelyn Stafford (nee Attwell). PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

The ubiquitous structures were issued free to householders in Britain who earned less than £5 a week.

“The Anderson shelter played a critical part in helping to keep people safe in big cities like Coventry, Birmingham and London as German bombers launched raid after killer raid in 1940-41,” said Steve.

“It is emblematic of the Home Front in the UK in the Second World War.

“And we will be genuinely proud of being able to show it off to thousands of people at our Harborough in War event in August.”

He said the keenly-anticipated wartime extravaganza will be held across three days from Friday August 6 to Sunday August 8.

“We launched Harborough at War here in Market Harborough in 2019 and it turned out to be a huge success story.

“We clearly had to cancel last summer’s follow-up amid the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Steve.

“But we can’t wait to put on this year’s celebration of our amazing wartime history.

“It’s going to be bigger and better than ever before.

“We will be staging three times the number of thrilling heart-stopping re-enactments that we did in 2019.

“We had 20 re-enactment groups performing two years ago.

“This time round we’ll have at least 65 dedicated groups of enthusiasts from all over the country coming here to Market Harborough to perform for us,” said Steve.

“We’ll have Allied and Axis set-ups, Home Front areas, period stalls, the Rutland Big Band and trades stalls.

“There will be tanks and other military vehicles, live firing and 1940s fashion shows.

“We will be turning the clock back over 80 years in an instant over these three days – and it’s going to be totally unforgettable!

“So many people are itching and champing at the bit to get out after we’ve all been locked down for so long during this coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s going to be a fantastic chance for people right across Harborough and beyond to head along and escape to celebrate our finest hour over these three action-packed days,” insisted Steve.

“And Harborough at War will also give our local economy in Market Harborough a supercharged shot in the arm.

“Our brilliant pubs, restaurants, hotels, shops and B&Bs should all do a roaring trade as thousands of people pour into town.

“We will also be boosting important local charities such as the Royal British Legion, scouts and air cadets.

“So please look us up now, order your tickets and pencil us in on your calendars – and don’t forget to bring the sunshine with you!”

If you would like to find out more about this August’s all singing all dancing all firing Harborough at War you can check out it here: http://harboroughatwar.co.uk and https://www.facebook.com/Harboroughatwar