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Blue Light Show 2005
I first got involved in the "Ring Farm Show", as it was then known, when a neighbour, who was the Sergeant at the mounted section in South Yorkshire Police's mounted section asked me to join the committee that organised the show.
At that time I had just retired (for the first time) so went along. In those days the show was a fairly small affair with a few hundred folk attending. I saw an opportunity to raise some money for our (Sergeant Barry Sorsby and myself) charity - Sheffield Aid to Romania, a charity dedicated to helping the street kids of Romania.
Barry retired and I got "promoted" to running the whole show with his replacement, Steve Thomas. The show got bigger and bigger each year. Apart from personally organising and running the show with Steve, I had to get the gates manned, the car park attended and the food and drink provided. In all I needed 60 people. For the first 8 years I used the members of the Rotary Club I belonged to and the scouts and friends. However the final 2 shows the members of the Lotus 7 Club helped.
I had a "falling out" with the Rotarians, they just would not sell the burgers the way we had agreed. No problem in itself. Except that every year we only sold 1000 and not the 2000 I knew we could.
At first I thought that would be the end of my involvement but then thought CLUB.
I posted on Blat Chat for volunteers. Amazing! In a short period of time I had the 60 volunteers, coming to Barnsley from Aberdeen, Wales, the south coast, Norfolk, in fact from all over the UK.
I had to do something to show my appreciation, so got a live band and a couple of barrels of beer, set up a burger grill and had a party on the Saturday night. The band was a favour, the beer was a "gift" to "those nice policeman on the horses" from the Barnsley Brewery Company and the burgers we already had!
So the shows for 2004 and 2005 were manned by the members of The Lotus 7 Club, and a good job they did to.
PC Bill at Ring Farm 2005
The Navy diving tank being filled by the fire brigade. The Navy kindly lent us this tank each year for the underwater search and rescue team to put on a show. It weighs 9 tons and the glass is 6" thick.
This means that there are Police Horses in the lorry, not what you may, at first, have thought.
One of the residents.
Leanne, step-granddaughter, making sandwiches. Bless her, she worked her little socks off.
The troops being briefed.
Briefings are hard work, time for a cuppa.
The chap on the grey is Sgt. Steve Thomas, my partner in crime. The horse is Glayva, who earnt a good reputation from the miners strike.
Not sure what to say about this photo. Suggestions on postcards please.
He never stops! Dave the 21 polisher.
I suppose they should have added "No loud noises". In fact the horses are trained not to be startled by loud or sudden noises. One of the troops show pieces is the nuisance lane where the horses must walk through a lane of loud and sudden noises. A brass band, a gun being fired, cymbals being clashed are just some of the distractions made as the horse walks passed.
The diving tank (shown at the top) is also used by the Antique Diving Association. These are some of their helmets. In fact the whole suit is so heavy that some of the chaps were finding it difficult to climb the ladders. Solution? The following year I hired a Cherry Picker to lift them to the top platform.
We had the Army Recruiting team at the show. They set up a death slide or assault course which very popular with the kids.
We also had the Bomb Disposal unit with a remote "pig". I got a scrap Escort from the local scrap yard and we set a scenario of an abandoned vehicle with a suspect package in the boot. The "pig" was unloaded from the vehicle and was remotely moved to the car. The operator then used the remote camera, mounted on a stalk, to look inside the car. Having decided the package could be a bomb the "pig" then shoots the door lock off. Now, think about this. There's a suspect bomb inside the car and this thing's shooting at locks. Worry not, it fires bolts of water at very high speed. In fact so fast that the water globule will go through a 1/8" steel plate! Door lock removed the operator then uses the remote arm to open the door and reach in to remove the package. Having got the package out of the car two small remote arms, with "hands", open the package and destroys the contents. Pity really, they looked like nice sandwiches! The crowd enjoyed it.
The bearded wonder sorting another problem.
The car park. The car park attendants parked up over 2000 vehicles. As they get full, the early birds start to leave and it sorts it self out. We estimate that over 8000 cars are parked.
Nice Tonka toy.
One of the best scenarios we put on involved a van and a car in a (low speed) head on collision. The van has a drum of chemicals on the back which falls off and starts leaking. The car driver is unconscious slumped over the steering wheel. The van drive is dazed and staggering around when a motor cyclist arrives. The rider stops, and moves forward to assist but is overcome by fumes. At this point a simulated emergency call is received and the whole emergency procedure is played over the speaker system. Then the local radio station starts to broadcast emergency messages for traffic and local residents. In due course, Police, Fire and Ambulance services arrive. The fireman get into their chemical suits and retrieve the cyclist and van driver. Another team use their "jaws of life" cutters to remove the roof from the car to get the injured driver from the car. All the injured are then transferred to ambulances which set off for the hospital. The Fireman set up a chemical cleansing unit (high pressure shower to us) and have to stand under it for two minutes each (we speeded that bit up). The fire engines then depart leaving the police to sort out the traffic. All in a days work.
A well earned burger after jumping in and out of chemical suits.
I did suggest we didn't display these vehicles. However as the bobbies in attendance were explaining that it was the local authority who controlled them the public weren't to hostile.
The Barnsley Building Society brass band. Please note the packs of drinks behind them. These were donated by Nick Henstock's firm. We sold them at £1 each. Well done Nick.
The gates. About 8,000 people went through these. £1 each, kids for free. The programmes were free and self funding from advertising. The two left hand barriers had been temporarily removed to allow the ponies from the Riding for the Disabled through.
Including the Mayor and Mayoress. Lynne ran the gates and her motto was if she worked all day then all paid. She even charged the Chief Constable and his wife. he had to ask his wife for some change - she told him not to be silly and handed over a 320 note. Nice lady.
The police cadets were used to escort the VIP's to their seat in the grandstand. They managed not to lose any.
The fun fair and karting track. Very popular with kids - of all ages.
Smile, your on candid camera! Sevens - always good for blokes to chat about.
No Mabel, they told me it wasn't a canoe, it's some sort of new fangled car.
"Bet you can't get in that, Dad"
"Cor, look at this, do you think they'll notice if we nick it"
"Do you know dear, if we sell the dog I may be able to get one of these"
These people were last minutes applicants. The show is about raising money for local charities and groups as well as a PR exercise for the emergency services. It had rained very hard the night before and was a bit drizzly during the morning so the public were a bit scarce. However they more than made up for it in the afternoon. The lady in the wheel chair wasn't happy at lunchtime, she thought they had wasted the day. However at 5pm when we were packing up she called me over and couldn't thank me enough. She reckoned they had raised more money in one afternoon than they had ever done in a whole day at other events. She made me promise that I would invite her again next year. Unfortunately this turned out to be the last show.
Myles working hard.
Tammy being nosey.
Not sure who's in the red apron, but Tammy's still working hard.
Too many to name.
And drinks, keep going Geoff!
Wow! There's pedals down here.
Can I have a burger - please.
The paras descending gracefully
Pushing the car for the chemical scenario onto the parade ring.
I was either thinking or trying not to step in something.
The Police helicopter departs. wasn't bad, we had it for about an hour before it was called away on an op.
Who the hell is Roger anyway?
Someone needs a bath.
Speak up! I'm a bit deaf you know, From driving that silly car without earplugs.
And finally, the diving tank being loaded from its return to Portsmouth
A big thanks from me to all the members of the Lotus 7 Club who came to Barnsley one wet weekend from all over the country to help raise £8000+ for the clubs charity:-