Thursday, 30 January 2014

Town rises to the occasion once again

LYME Regis never needs an excuse to let its hair down and the coming year will be no exception with new festivals and attractions being announced almost weekly.

This week we report on attempts to stage a “Jaunt With Jane” weekend to bring to the town Jane Austen afficianados in a bid to ultimately compete with Bath’s annual homage paid to the author who fell in love with Lyme.

One of the highlights in 2014, however, will not be a celebration but a commemoration as the initial plans for “D-Day+70 - The Lyme Regis Salute” are announced. The town council, with deputy town clerk Mark Tredwin taking the lead, has set up a special committee to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day - the biggest invasion force the world had ever seen - with Royal British Legion vice-chairman and events organiser David Manners in the chair. 

Our town played its part in the run-up to D-Day - June 6th 1944 - by playing host to the 16th Infantry Regiment of the 1st US Infantry Division, who were based in Lyme prior to the invasion.

An estimated 200 men of that regiment lost their lives in the subsequent conflict and it is only fitting that those young men who made the supreme scarifice to liberate Europe, who lived among the people of Lyme, will be foremost in the commemoration programme.

The week following the D-Day commemorations will see members of Lyme Regis Football Club travelling to their twin club Creully in Normandy which was liberated by the Royal Dragoon Guards on D-Day plus one. I hope to be among them.

We were fortunate to have been in Creully for the 60th anniversary of D-Day when we met up with members of the Royal Dragoon Guards Regimental Association. We gave a commitment to always place a wreath on their memorial when we visited the village and we have done so ever since.

Royal British Legion member David Humphry has carried out extensive research on how and when those men of Lyme whose names appear on our War Memorial lost their lives.  

A number of them fell and are buried near Creully and it will be our intention to visit each of their graves to lay a remembrance cross on behalf of the Lyme branch of the Royal British Legion.

David Manners and his committee are to be congratulated on their efforts and I am sure the town,  as always, will turn out in force to support the commemoration of such an important part of our history

YOU had to be quick off the mark when tickets went on sale to see A-list comedian Alan Carr appear at the Marine Theatre.

Tickets for his stand-up show on March 7th went on sale for Theatre Friends on Wednesday of last week, followed by general sale the following morning. They all went in ten minutes flat - the quickest any show at the Marine has sold out.

I even heard that some people were offering to become Theatre Friends for the £15  fee so that they could take advantage of the priority booking system.

One person, apparently, managed to get two £13 tickets and then put them up for sale for £50 each, causing a furious row on social networking sites.

Under normal circumstances such a popular act as Alan Carr would not appear in a 200-seat theatre. But some comedians like to try out their material before a tour of the main venues - so I imagine this was one such case.

In recent years we have seen Michael McIntyre and Jo Brand, who both attract sell-out tours at the big theatres, appearing at the Marine.

Of course, they follow in the footsteps of some big names from the past. During the war, Hollywood star Mickey Rooney appeared on the Marine stage to entertain the American GIs stationed in the town before D-Day.


LAST week I wrote about the View’s accounts manager Anita Routley’s highly inventive fundraising event for our adopted charity - Water Survival Box.

This week we are publishing a four-page supplement on her attempt to visit all 270 underground stations in London in 48 hours in all our 15 local newspapers in West Dorset, East Devon and South Somerset, which have a combined distribution of more than 42,000 copies a week.

Anita is attempting to get all 270 tube stations sponsored for £5 and, at the time of writing, she is up to 185 thanks to the generous support of our advertisers.

Anita will be attempting her underground challenge on the weekend of February 14th/16th and, if by then she manages to get all 270 stations sponsored, she will have raised £1,350 for our Water Survival Box appeal. I will be at the finish to welcome her off that last train with a big hug!

We have committed to raising £10,000 for this Rotary-backed charity over the next two years and, thanks to Anita’s efforts and other generous donations, we have already topped the £3,000 mark, enabling us to hand over our first cheque to the charity at Monday’s soup and ploughman’s lunch, organised by the Rotary Club of Lyme Regis, which raised a further £1,000 for the cause.

My staff are getting up to all sorts of other crazy fundraising ideas, including a sponsored sky dive by one of our sales girls, Jenna Wellman.

Me? I’m already in training for a sponsored origami session - and I’m pleased to hear that my life-long pal Dave Reed will be joining me. If he thinks he’s up to it!

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