War veteran flying 9,000 miles to attend hangar dance

A WORLD war two veteran is making 9,000 mile round trip to attend a hangar dance. Jack Fortes, 86, will be flying over from Florida to attend the dance, which is being held at Bassingbourn barracks to celebrate the anniversary of VE Day. Amy Murphy of the

A WORLD war two veteran is making 9,000 mile round trip to attend a hangar dance.

Jack Fortes, 86, will be flying over from Florida to attend the dance, which is being held at Bassingbourn barracks to celebrate the anniversary of VE Day.

Amy Murphy of the Tower Museum, Bassingbourn has been assisting Mr Fortes in making his travel arrangements.

She said: "I have spoken to Jack a few times on the telephone, and he is extremely excited about the trip and the dance. He really does not sound 86 years old.


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"Initially I was concerned about the effect such a huge trip in such a short time, would have on Jack, but he has assured me he will be fine and cannot wait to get here.

"In the past week or so, Jack has been a little concerned about the restrictions on flights due to the volcanic ash, and has told me he would be devastated if he could not make the trip, we are keeping our fingers crossed that the airspace will remain open and he will be able to come as planned," she said.

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Mr Fortes, who served in the US Navy in the Pacific during WWII, has a long standing love of the big band sound.

Since the death of his wife, he has taken comfort in the music that they enjoyed together, listening to it every day on internet radio stations, and visiting nursing and retirement homes to play the music to the elderly patients.

The dance, which takes place on May 8, will be the last of its kind to be held in the Memphis Belle hangar at the barracks.

Organiser Chris Murphy explained: "Our aim in running events such as the hangar dance is to make money for the charities, but what is equally important to us is that the people who attend, have a great time and don't have to pay over the odds for it".

"This year we have kept our ticket price the same as we charged in 2007, which has meant the margin for raising funds for the Tower Museum are smaller. The costs involved in putting this event on are almost �2,000 more than they were in 2007".

"We decided at the start that this would be the last event of its kind that we would hold at

Bassingbourn and it seems appropriate to make this the last one, on this special anniversary," he said.

Proceeds from the dance will go to the tower museum, a memorial museum dedicated to service men and woman who have spent time at the barracks.

Guests will be dancing to the music of the Memphis Belle Orchestra.

Tickets for the event are still available from the organisers on 07808 144 328.

Further details can be found on the Tower Museum website

www.towermuseumbassingbourn.co.uk

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