A free new attraction will be heading to the Accrington Food Festival on Saturday 1st June, giving visitors the chance to enjoy the ultimate flying experience in a Spitfire simulator.

Built in the 1980s by a film studio to be used in TV dramas, the exact 1/1 scale MK IX Spitfire features fully functioning analogue instrumentation and flight controls, with many original period parts fitted and functioning in accordance with the original warbird including realistic sound and vibrations.

Open to everyone aged 10 and above (under 16s must be accompanied by an adult), the experience will allow people to enjoy a free flight over Dover, France or London, all set in the 1940s. With many different scenarios available including take-off and landing, there is also the opportunity to test your skills at dogfighting and shooting down the Luftwaffe.

The free attraction will be part of a full day of activities to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day (10 am-4 pm), including the return of the popular Candy Bomber commemoration with local estate agents Pendle Hill Properties.

250 Hershey Bars and 250 little parachute men will be handed out to Under 12s at 2 pm on a first-come, first served basis from a WWII military jeep, to celebrate the famous Candy Bomber, Col. Gail Seymour Halvorsen, an American pilot who gained fame for dropping candy to German children during the Berlin airlift of 1948.

A war re-enactment will also take place from 1 pm in the grounds of St James’ Church and new for 2024, the re-enactment will feature a special appearance from “The Mad Piper”.

Despite pipers being banned from the front line after WWI by the English War Office, due to enemy forces targeting them because of the moral boost they provided, Brigadier Simon Fraser, 15th Lord Lovat, commander of 1 Special Service Brigade, wanted to continue the tradition of having a piper by his side.

Due to them being Scottish and not English, on D-Day Lord Lovat instructed a young ‘Private Bill Millin’ to play Highland Laddie as the troops reached the shore. Despite many around him getting shot, Millin continued playing the bagpipes, with the sound they made being heard over the noise of gunfire.

Only later did they discover, from a captured German sniper, that they did not shoot Millin, as they thought he had gone mad and had taken pity on him.

A lone “mad” piper from the world-famous Accrington Pipe Band will re-enact this famous D-Day story during the Accrington Food Festival war re-enactment.

Murray Dawson, Chair of #AmazingAccrington, said: “We are always looking at ways to improve our events to take them to the next level, and we are delighted to be introducing an exciting new initiative to this year’s Accrington Food Festival with our special Spitfire Simulator experience.

“In previous years we have had a static full-size replica Spitfire on the town square, last year we had the flypast of a Spitfire, and this year we want people to get as close as possible to experiencing the real thing. This is going to be a very popular free attraction, so make sure you get down early on the day to avoid the queues.

“We are also very proud to be commemorating D-Day and with the addition of the “Mad Piper” to our re-enactment at St James’ Church alongside our Candy Bomber commemoration, we are keen to educate people who may not have heard of these stories.”

Organisers of the free-to-attend event, #AmazingAccrington, who are running the re-enactment as part of the 2024 Accrington Food Festival, are inviting re-enactors to attend in 1940s dress to create a magnificent 1940s scene which will also feature 1940s singers Christoper and the Robins, with plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy a swing dance.

#AmazingAccrington are also inviting anyone with military vehicles to attend the event. To book in your military vehicle, email editor@amazingaccrington.co.uk

The event, which is being sponsored by Hyndburn Borough Council, Sundown Solutions and Vita Accrington, will include international, regional and local food stalls, as well as Hyndburn Independents around the town, and a main stage featuring TV and Michelin Star chef Glynn Purnell, Netflix TV star Molly Robbins and local chef Paul Fox, owner of the Crafty Fox.

With over 60 stalls to choose from, the food will celebrate the very best of Lancashire produce including a new ‘Farm to Plate’ offering courtesy of BBC Radio Lancashire presenter, Stephen Lowe.

Keep up to date with the latest updates and announcements on the event by visiting www.amazingaccrington.co.uk