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Dad's Army project going well

PUBLISHED: 13:45 12 April 2010 | UPDATED: 22:01 07 July 2010

It may have been given just a fleeting moment of stardom in TV Dad's Army series but the well from Private Charles Godfrey's garden is to be immortalised at a Thetford museum dedicated to the classic comedy.

It may have been given just a fleeting moment of stardom in TV Dad's Army series but the well from Private Charles Godfrey's garden is to be immortalised at a Thetford museum dedicated to the classic comedy.

Numerous episodes of the ever-popular show, which ran for nine years from 1968, were filmed in and around the town, following the comic capers of Walmington-on-sea, Home Guard. The cast often stayed at the Bell and former Anchor Hotel on Bridge and King Street respectively.

Now, Thetford has achieved a small coup with the arrival of a piece of scenery to be repaired to its former glory by town students.

Even though it is more than 30 years since the cameras stopped rolling, people still queue to see various sites throughout the town as well as the dedicated Dad's Army museum on Cadge Lane.

The museum will now eventually house a wishing well, given to its curators from a private owner where it sat outdoors for many years, once a group of youngsters have turned their hand to its restoration.

The well was once part of Private Charles Godfrey's garden which viewers saw for just a few seconds in one memorable episode in which Godfrey's house was threatened with demolition to make way for a runway.

Fortunately for the character the house survived, as did the wishing well and now about 20 construction students, between 10 and 18 years old from Thetford's Zone for Learning (ZFL) have now been tasked with repairing the set piece.

Director of ZFL Dave Southwell, said: “It's in quite a bad state of repair. Some of the paint work needs refinishing and some of the wood work is rotten. It's quite an involved project.

“The way we look at it is much of the student's training is in the workshop and it's good to have a project to work on other than the everyday pieces.

“They're testing their skills out for real on what will be the finished article. It is something new to them but then we've also done work for the livewire opera company. A lot of them haven't seen Dad's Army but it's something they're aware of, but then they've never been to an opera before either but have done scenery for it so it's drawing on experience.”

The well will eventually be placed in the Dad's Army Museum and become a central focal point. People will be welcome to throw in coins and make a wish and the money will be donated to the museum.

Friend of Dad's Army Museum, Corinne Fulford, said: “When I first heard about it I got a bit over excited but then I found out it was a prop, not a real well, so the fact it has survived at all is a miracle really.

“I gave it to the children to rebuild because I think they need the opportunity and thought it would be a good way of getting the community involved.”

Two years ago the Friends of Dad's Army Museum launched an appeal to create a bronze recreation of Captain Mainwaring and in June this year a week-long series of events will culminate in the unveiling of the long-awaited statue.

If permission is granted by Breckland Council it will be positioned between the Bell and former Anchor hotel. Included in the run up to the unveiling, on June 19, there will be a community stage play held between June 15 and June 20.

t The Dad's Army Museum is open between 10am and 2pm. For more information see the museum website at www.dadsarmythetford.org.uk.

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