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Celebrate all things from the 1940s at the Lavenham Vintage Weekend between Friday 18th and Monday 21st May. The Swan at Lavenham Hotel & Spa are supporting Friends of Lavenham Airfield (FOLA) to host a series of special vintage events for all ages in and around the village.

In particular, the Vintage Weekend will commemorate the 75th anniversary of RAF Lavenham (AAF station 137) being built by Laing’s in 1943 for use by the US forces stationed in East Anglia’s in support of World War II, known as the ‘Friendly Invasion’.

Amongst the many events being planned are a vintage fair and vehicle display; 1940s swing dance in the village hall; evacuees’ exhibition in Little Hall, which was the village wartime evacuee centre; a sing-a-long vintage afternoon tea at The Swan Hotel and a history talk. There will also be a visit to Lavenham Airfield, which isn’t normally open to the public; a commemorative church service and ‘In Gratitude’ gathering in front of the memorial plaque (Market Place) for the 487th Bombardment Group, which was stationed at Lavenham during WW11.

Although long departed the names of the 487th Bombardment Group remain inscribed on the walls of the Old Bar in The Swan Hotel. Renamed the Airmen’s Bar, it’s full of memorabilia and signatures of the servicemen, some of whom took up the challenge of downing 3.5 pints of ale from a glass boot and how long it took them; the record seems to be an amazing 40 seconds held by RAF serviceman WH Culling!

As the weekend coincides with the royal wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, The Swan will be televising the ceremony at a gala lunch in its Gallery restaurant

Vintage events will continue to be held annually in Lavenham during May leading up to the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May 2020. The commencement of operational flights by the 487th BG will be remembered between 17th and 20th May 2019.

Some events take place throughout the weekend, others are on specific days and some can be pre-booked; 1940s dress is encouraged but optional. For more details, visit https://theswanatlavenham.co.uk/explore/the-vintage-weekend/, which will be updated as the event dates draw nearer, or call Lavenham Tourist Information Centre on 01787 248207. To book a stay at The Swan call 01787 247477 or email reservations@theswanatlavenham.co.uk.