THE sights and sounds of the American and English civil wars will be brought to life this weekend.

A field on the outskirts of Middlestone Moor, near Spennymoor, will play host to civil war re-enactments, displays and costume exhibitions on Saturday afternoon.

The event will start at noon with the firing of a cannon followed by 17th Century displays by regiments of the Sealed Knot, an army drill by The American Civil War Society and a flags of war display.

At 1.30pm a firing squad from The Ship Inn pub will take out the area's most wanted, whose faces have been displayed on posters around the area, in aid of The Butterwick Hospice.

Other displays include a spectacular 17th Century skirmish by The Sealed Knot group, a realistic portrait of America's Battle of Blackett's Field and a grand parade.

At 4pm there will be a rarely-seen dusk firing display with black-powder muskets and cannons and the whole event will be rounded off with a spectacular fireworks display at 4.30pm.

Wear Valley District councillor Jill Hilditch has been one of the event's main organisers. She said: "Nothing like this has ever been held in the area. It will be really exciting for spectators and much of it will benefit a local charity - The Butterwick Hospice."