Visitors flock to Wells-next-the-sea for a busy weekend of events

Wells at War weekend at the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

Wells at War weekend at the Wells & Walsingham Light Railway. Picture: Ian Burt

Crowds were treated to a display of expert rescue skills performed by Newfoundland dogs at Wells-next-the-sea.

Amanda Hastings, lifeboat guild secretary, said: 'The Newfoundlands have a natural life-saving instinct in the water. When they were walking along the quay, people could see how big they were and they are so gentle.'

One exhibit involved volunteers jumping into the water and splashing around as if they were casualties - the dogs then jumped in and the 'casualty' held their fur and were towed to shore.

The Wells and Walsingham Light Railway marked the Queen's birthday and remembered those who lived and fought during the war over two packed days which included re-inactors, vintage cars, stalls, a beer tent and a spitfire which conducted a special flypast.

Managing director of the railway Nick Champion, said: 'Whether you are a republican or a royalist, a royal occasion brings out the best in people. It's nostalgic, people slowed down a bit and talked to each other and celebrated in national pride and I think the Queen's birthday is ideal for that.

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'Our trains have been full of smiling faces and a huge number of families and children visited, they love it.'

He added the both the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh contributed in the war effort so Wells at War was a fitting event.

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Mr Champion added they encouraged members of the public to take part and dress up, even convincing a group of Dutch cyclists travelling across Britain to march with the Home Guard with makeshift bayonets.

'If there's anyone standing about, we like them to do something.

'We have had little children dressed as evacuees and land girls aplenty.'

The railway was the dream of Lt Cdr Roy Francis, who served in the Arctic Convoys and was torpedoed four times before his 21st birthday, who built the mile long Wells Beach Railway when he returned to civilian life.

In 1979, he started to construct the light railway and in 1982 on April 6, services began on schedule.

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