THOUSANDS of pounds have been donated to a local project which holds a place in the hearts of people across North Wales.

Flintshire Countryside Services has been awarded funds to celebrate the changing face of the Talacre village, from Spitfire training in World War Two to today’s holiday resort and everything in between.

The ‘Talacre Now and Then’ project has been awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £30,100 which has been boosted by a further grant of £15,400 from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund to focus on the World War Two elements of the project.

The project will run throughout 2019 and will look at how it has changed through the years, using digital and traditional media to attract visitors - which would allow them to visualise how it would have looked during the war and the subsequent decades when it became a holiday resort.

Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Streetscene and Countryside, Carolyn Thomas, said: “It’s great news that we have been awarded these grants which will now allow us to develop a real tourist and educational attraction for this incredibly important historical area. I am excited to see the project develop as the year progresses and look forward to welcoming many visitors to our beautiful county.”

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The project has also been supported by a £2,000 grant from the Outdoor Learning Wales for the educational elements.

Talacre remains a popular holiday destination today and is also an internationally important area for wildlife but was a different place during the war. The dunes and beach areas were used for Spitfire training and the remains of pill boxes and rows of larch posts, originally put in to deter enemy invasion, can still be seen.

Air Commodorre Adrian Williams, representing the Armed Forces, added: “The Armed Forces have been delighted to support the “Talacre now and then” project. The area has a rich World War 2 history, with RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes dogfighting in the skies above while defending Liverpool from the heavy Nazi bombing blitz in 1941, together with all the pillboxes and defensive fortifications that were in place on Talacre beach at this time to protect our country from invasion.

“It is fantastic that this story can now be told again, particularly to new generations, and the RAF looks forward to joining with you for the official opening later in the summer.”

Memories of the area will be the focus point of the Talacre ‘Then and Now’ project and will be gathered during a ‘story shop’ in Talacre Community Centre during the Easter Holidays.

Visitors will be able to enjoy displays including old photos, maps, digital stories and objects. It will also be a recording studio, a place to ask questions and bring people together. People are invited to bring in their own materials and the content will change and grow over time.

The material gathered from the ‘Story Shop’ and wider research will be used to produce a memories booklet and a digital trail and a World War 2 trail through the dunes will be created along with a CGI film (computer generated imagery) showing the Spitfires training above the dunes to help visitors understand how the area was affected by the war era.

Local schools will have the chance to visit the dunes, meeting re-enactors and using role play to imagine what life was like during World War 2.

The culmination of the World War 2 activities will be a World War 2 extravaganza weekend on July 27-28 with re-enactors, a replica Spitfire, guided walks and family activities.

Richard Bellamy, head of HLF Wales, said: “Talacre ‘Then and Now’ is a great project as it shows clearly how local heritage can be a catalyst for lots of different activities.”