D-Day 70: Fireworks finish off evening of 1940s music

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The night sky exploded into a blaze of colour after one of the most memorable weeks ever in Portsmouth.

The drama of the firework display provided a thrilling climax to the D-Day commemorations and bathed the city’s Naval Memorial in glittering light.

The 1940s Concert held on Southsea Common during Saturday evening included a big band finale and a spectacular firework display to end the event  Picture: Malcolm Wells (141688-4295) PPP-140806-083824003

The 1940s Concert held on Southsea Common during Saturday evening included a big band finale and a spectacular firework display to end the event Picture: Malcolm Wells (141688-4295) PPP-140806-083824003

The fireworks rounded off what was an unforgettable night for thousands of people as Southsea Common was transformed into a 1940s party.

People of all ages jived and twirled the night away on the dance floor in front of the main stage and were treated to big band numbers of yesteryear, including ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

Polka dot dresses, hair turbans and flat caps were the order of the day as many chose to dress as their parents and grandparents would have done during the war.

The firework display was accompanied to uplifting scores, including ‘Disco Inferno’ and ‘O Fortuna’.

D DAY SATURDAY EVENING     (JT)      MRW    7/6/2014''The '1940's Concert' held on Southsea Common during Saturday evening included a big band finale and a spectacular firework display to end the event as several thousand people enjoyed a fabulous evening ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141689-3984) PPP-140806-102914003

D DAY SATURDAY EVENING (JT) MRW 7/6/2014''The '1940's Concert' held on Southsea Common during Saturday evening included a big band finale and a spectacular firework display to end the event as several thousand people enjoyed a fabulous evening ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141689-3984) PPP-140806-102914003

Sandy Bury, 60, from Barn Close, Emsworth, said: ‘It’s a fantastic end to a wonderful few days.’

Alison Flower, 31, of Salisbury Road, Southsea, said: ‘What a brilliant end to a fabulous day.

‘I’m really proud of our city today.’

Music earlier in the evening was performed by the Royal Marines Association Concert and Big Band, the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir, the Portsmouth Music Hub D-Day 70 Choir and the Milton Glee Club.

D DAY SATURDAY EVENING     (JT)      MRW    7/6/2014''The '1940's Concert' held on Southsea Common during Saturday evening included a big band finale and a spectacular firework display to end the event as several thousand people enjoyed a fabulous evening ''Having a great time ! - The Moore family from Widley ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141689-4090) PPP-140806-102438003

D DAY SATURDAY EVENING (JT) MRW 7/6/2014''The '1940's Concert' held on Southsea Common during Saturday evening included a big band finale and a spectacular firework display to end the event as several thousand people enjoyed a fabulous evening ''Having a great time ! - The Moore family from Widley ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (141689-4090) PPP-140806-102438003

Wil Sammes, from Hayling Island, was one of the professional singers taking people on a trip down memory lane.

His girlfriend, Fiona Baird, 23, said: ‘I’m so proud of him. It’s such a big band and such a massive crowd.’

Kathy Davies, 51, and Steve Davies, 59, from Fareham, perched themselves between the dance floor and the stage and soaked up the atmosphere.

‘I love watching this kind of dancing,’ said Kathy.

‘It’s nice to see people enjoying themselves.’

Linda Harris, 56, who travelled down from Leicestershire, laughed: ‘I love this era – I was born too late!’

Matthew Edwards, 28, and Hilary Edwards, 28, from Hilsea, dressed for the occasion and like so many enjoyed a picnic on the Common.

Matthew, a physical training instructor for the Royal Marines, said: ‘It’s a day of remembrance – it means a lot.’

Hilary added: ‘If the youth of today were like the youth of then, the country would be a better place.’

The evening had some lovely touches, including a Mexican wave and schoolchildren singing of ‘eternal peace for this world’.

Kerry Goodall, 33, a drama teacher from Purbrook Park School, said: ‘This is a free event laid on by the council – they should do it more often.’

Mum-of-three Louise Kingshott, 34, from Arundel, watched with pride as her husband Ian Kingshott played the French Horn for the Royal Marines Association.

‘I did not know what I was coming to,’ she said.

‘It’s amazing. I can’t believe how many people are here.’

Hayley Halley, 30, from North End, said: ‘I come from a forces family. This is never going to happen again in my lifetime. The turnout has been fantastic. The city has pulled together.’

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