A GROUP of North Yorkshire villages turned back the clocks to 1943 as one of the county’s most popular events drew thousands of visitors.

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway In Wartime event transformed Levisham, Goathland, Grosmont and Pickering into historic locations and an RAF base, while thousands of people flocked to bask in the wartime nostalgia.

As always, each of the stations along the line of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) was taken over by a different group, with a traditional NAAFI at Pickering, which was open only to those in 1940s dress, wartime music and dance at Grosmont, Home Guard at Goathland, and Levisham becoming the occupied French village of Le Visham.

This year’s event drew record numbers, said organisers.

Danielle Ramsey, marketing manager with the NYMR, said: “The Railway in Wartime weekend has been a staple event in the NYMR’s diary for 20 years now, and indeed the themed activities continue all along the line from Pickering to Whitby, attracting thousands of visitors from around the country. We had record takings on Saturday, about £5,000 more on tickets than last year, so we were very busy, but we were very happy with how it went, and a lot of people enjoyed themselves.”

Wayne Brown and his wife, Melanie, visited the event from Marske, near Teesside, and said: “The weather this year has made it fantastic, and there seems to be a really good atmosphere.

“It’s about our tenth time here. We go to a few each year, and try to go to every new one we can, but every year we always come back to this one.”

Alex and Tony Parsons are in the Northern Forties reenactment group, and brought their 18-month old son, Seth, to the event. They will spend a whole week travelling between the villages to raise money for Help For Heroes.

Alex said: “It’s the second time we’ve been here, and it’s much busier; there are a lot more people here this year.

“The group has raised over £5,000 already. We think it’s brilliant, definitely the best in the country, and the public have been enjoying themselves, and really generous.”

Danielle said the event had become so successful it was hoped more people would get involved with helping organise it in 2013.

She said: “The NYMR puts an awful lot of money into this, and we need as much support as possible from people for next year because we are a charity. Without our volunteers and paid staff to help out, we couldn’t have run the event, so a huge thank you to all volunteers across the line.”

Anyone interested in helping out with the railway or with next year’s event should email waroffice@nymr.co.uk