Friends set for high flying 40s Day to help restore Gardens gem

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Fundraisers will look to the skies as they turn back the clock and get into the wartime spirit.

A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire is set to fly over Harrogate as the Friends of Valley Gardens host their fifth 40s day on Sunday June 28.

Chairman of the group Jane Blayney said: “We want to raise funds for the completion of the restoration of the Old Magnesia Well Pump Room into an information and education centre and the surrounding Peat Garden into a through the seasons floral experience.

“Weather permitting the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Spitfire will fly over at 2.25pm.

“This is a sight not to miss and for some senior citizens a memory of the past.”

The free event, which will be officially opened by Mayor Nigel Simms at 11am, will play host to a wide variety of attractions.

Before that the March of the Evacuees will leave the main Gate at 10.30am, supported by a contingent from Western School. Children and parents are welcome to join and period dress is optional.

On show in the Valley Gardens will be a display of army vehicles, vintage cars and traction engines, photographic journalist Roy Hampson will return with a display of his work, and there will be stalls including vintage and military groups, cakes and tombola and beer and pimms available.

Entertainment will run throughout the day in the bandstand with Western School, Harrogate Theatre Choir, Phoenix Players, Alwoodley Community Choir, Morris Dancers and Molly Dancers taking star turns.

Junior soldiers from the Army Foundation College and Harrogate Lions will act as marshalls.

The current Friends of Valley Gardens group was formed in October 2009 with main objectives of encouraging people to manage and preserve the gardens, to promote it as a tourist and wildlife attraction and maintain high standards of planting.

The project to restore the Grade II listed Old Magnesia Well Pump Room aims to restore it inside and out, including the surrounding area through landscaping.

The members of the Valley Gardens volunteers will be on duty throughout the 40s Day, including in the Pump Room where they will relay the history of the building.

Visitors will also be able to see the work on the refurbished surrounding Peat Garden.

Jane added: “The monies raised from last year and previous years’ 40s Day monies have made this project possible.

“The members of Friends Of Valley Gardens would like to thank everyone for their support and wish all visitors to our 40s Day a very happy day.”