Dance organiser asks town to be ‘tolerant’

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The organiser of a Second World War charity dance is appealing for people to show “tolerance” after he claims revellers were verbally abused last year for dressing up as German soldiers.

Several guests were allegedly accused of being “fascists” and “Nazis” as they walked home from Parkside Hall in Ampthill after the annual Night To Remember event.

A number of people who were dressed up for the dance were also verbally attacked by drinkers in a pub who are claimed to have said: “How dare you come in here wearing a Nazi uniform?”

Organiser Phil Sharpe said: “One or two people were very upset by the reaction, which was totally over the top and out of order. In fact it was disgraceful.

“People go along in all sorts of different military costumes - British, German, Russian and American. Others dress as spies and evacuees.

“But just because some go as Germans that doesn’t make them Nazis. It strikes me the real fascists here are the intolerant people who abuse them.

“After all, the dance is all in a good cause because the money we raise after expenses have been paid will go to restore the town’s war memorial.”

He added: “The other year we had two revellers dressed as Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler. By the end of the evening they had linked arms and were waving union flags as they sang Rule Britannia.”

This year’s event is taking place on Saturday at Parkside Hall.

Local singer Pauline Brown will be singing all the old wartime hits like We’ll Meet Again and White Cliffs of Dover, while local jazz band Paul “Honky” Roberts and The Swingers will provide music for dancing.

There will also be a hot and cold buffet, as well as a raffle and various prizes.

The event will be raising money for the town’s war memorial after some plaques that had names of fallen soldiers were stolen several years ago.

Phil added: “I want to ask people in Ampthill to be more tolerant this year, it put a bit of a bad taste in our mouths at what is designed to remember and celebrate everyone who fought in the war.

“It was a bit of a slap in the face really because of what the event was actually designed to do. The event is there to remember everyone in all the wars, not just British soldiers.

“To be accused of being a Nazi was very upsetting for some of our guests and I would hope it was just a one-off, as it has never happened before.

“And I don’t want people to be put off this year’s dance, it’s a fantastic night that raises money for a really worthwile cause.”

Tickets cost £20 in advance, or £25 on the door, and are available from Phil on 07876470503. Or at the Queen’s Head and Albion pubs in Ampthill, along with various other venues in Ampthill, Flitwick and Bedford.