Curtain up on town's wartime epic

PUBLISHED: 12:38 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 14:35 12 May 2010

A DOCUMENTARY on Royston and the Second World War has turned into an epic", says that man who has been behind the camera for the project. John Harwood, who spends most of his time making television commercials, said: It has taken several months out of m

A DOCUMENTARY on Royston and the Second World War has turned into an "epic", says that man who has been behind the camera for the project. John Harwood, who spends most of his time making television commercials, said: "It has taken several months out of my life, and the work on the editing has, itself, turned into an epic job." Indeed, Mr Harwood and Chris Murphy, who originally had the idea about making the documentary, have spent hundreds of hours putting the work together. The result will be seen this weekend when Royston - a Town at War will be screened at Royston Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday. Mr Harwood said: "There have been times when I've spent up to 21 hours doing the editing. There was one time when I worked all through the night. "But with so much material there was no way that the editing could have been done in normal hours." Mr Harwood, who comes from Royston and runs his own company, Exposure TV in Hitchin, said he became "passionate" about the project once he started work on the documentary. "I think people will recognise that passion, and there are a number of moments that are so emotional it will have people crying," he added. Mr Murphy, who is chairman of the Royston branch of the Royal Air Forces Association, came up with the idea of a documentary last April. He was given a grant of more than £7,000 to help towards the cost from the Lottery's Home Recall Fund, set up for projects around the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The documentary shows through interviews and archive material the situation on the Home Front in Royston and the recollections of those serving in Europe and the Far East. Mr Murphy said: "It has become an important part of history, but it is not a definitive history of the time. It's the memories of those people who were around at the time. "It shows that the war touched everyone and some of the stories we have been told have not been heard before." Interest in the documentary has become wider this week. Mr Murphy has been interviewed on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, and a crew from BBC Look East has visited to studio this week to see the last piece of editing being put in place. "It's been a massive job, but I'm sure it is all worthwhile. It will become a unique record of a period in our history," added Mr Murphy. - Royston - a Town at War will be screened at Royston Town Hall on Saturday at 6pm and on Sunday at 11am and 3.30pm. Seating for each of the screenings is restricted to 200 people, and entry will be on a first-come first-served basis.

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