The Secret Spitfires

In 1940, the Germans succeeded in destroying the Spitfire factories in Southampton, believing that in doing so they’d put an end to the threat from their nemesis. But unknown to them, the British decided to build Spitfires in secret…

With a workforce mainly made up of unskilled young girls, boys, women, elderly men and a handful of engineers, around 2,500 Spitfires were built in cities and rural towns in southern England, hidden in sheds, garages, back gardens, a bus depot and even a hotel.

The story behind this amazing achievement is revealed in a new film, The Secret Spitfires, which has its East Midlands pre-release screening at the National Civil War Centre in Newark on Friday 24 November.

Set against a backdrop of picturesque English countryside, it features tales of terrible sadness along with more joyous moments shared by GIs and the RAF pilots who fly the iconic Spitfires today, a Glen Miller concert and a Joe Louis boxing match.

Concluding with a moving poem written by a Spitfire pilot, read by Vera Lynne, this screening starts at 7pm. Tickets are £10 each and are available online or by calling 07746 576521 – for a taste of what’s in store, watch the film trailer here…

By the book

books

With just over three weeks to go to the Newark Book Festival, what else would the Girls Around Town be talking about on this week’s show but…books, of course!

From romantic, crime and contemporary fiction to workshops, street theatre and story telling, the festival brings authors and entertainers together across a wide range of venues including Newark Castle, the Market Place, the Town HallNewark Library and the National Civil War Centre to name just a few.

Building on the 2015 and 2016 Books in the Castle, this year’s event on Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 July promises a programme that’s packed with activities for everyone. And June and Tina will be setting the scene on Sunday morning, as they chat to guests Luca Veste and Sara Bullimore…

Author of the Murphy and Rossi series, Luca says he writes ‘about bad things that will probably never happen to you’. In the first hour, he’ll be on the phone from his home in Liverpool talking about his books and about Crime By The Sea, in which he’ll be joined by David Mark, Harry Brett and Nick Quantrill to examine just why waterside locations are so compelling.

Then Sara Bullimore will be taking a short break from her hectic job as festival organiser to drop into the studio and share some of the details of the what, where and when. Find out how it all came together in just a few short months, why this year’s theme is Adventures and Heroes and what you, your friends and your families can expect to see, do and hear in Newark over the weekend.

Tune in or listen online between 10am and 12 noon for all the latest news. In the meantime, check out the programme,  put the dates in your diary now and be sure to make the Festival Office in the Market Place your first port of call to get your limited edition Festival Survival Bag so you can fill it to the brim with books!

Conflict and cakes…

torq

It’s almost 17 months since the National Civil War Centre first opened its doors to the public and over nine months since the Girls Around Town caught up on the latest news from this jewel in Newark’s crown.

Time to revisit the subject then, when Andrea Smedley joins June and Sue in the studio this Sunday. She’ll be talking about what’s been going on down at the Appletongate site, what’s in store for the near future and, in her role as volunteer co-ordinator, explaining how you can get involved.

Volunteer guides, helpers and room stewards of all ages and backgrounds play a vital role in the £5.4m Centre’s operation. It’s a great way to learn new skills, make new friends, meet people from all over the world and just have fun – so why not tune in from 10am to 12 noon or listen online to find out how more?

From the conflict of the Civil War to cakes – one of the girls’ favourite subjects, as you well know! In the first hour, there’ll be news live from The Turquoise Teapot, where an event in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support will be featuring a cake-eating competition.

And if you get your skates on after the show, there’ll still be time to join in the fun on Bowbridge Road!