Category: Event Planning

Catering, Equipment, Event Planning

New Equipment / Box Trailers

24 September 2022
Our New Debon trailer

Like many businesses, we changed course during the Covid pandemic. Only slightly admittedly, in fact more of a subtle swerve. I always used to say that we provided fun catering rather than full meals or the like. During the lockdown though a number of our biggest clients started asking for burgers and fries, Chinese noodles, rice pots and the like.

Not a problem, we can do that. What did crop up as a concern though was the fact that providing 900 burgers, meant we were having to transport far more stock than what we used to do with say candy floss, which at most would be a big tub of sugar. 900 buns take up a considerable amount of room.

So what to do, the obvious choice was buy bigger vans, trouble is, parking is a nightmare in places like London when you have a little van, so something long wheel base would be a nightmare. The other option was to acquire some box trailers. These could be used for things like stock, freezers, additional catering equipment etc. And when we didn’t need them could be left at base and we were back to our usual small vans.

Debon C500

The first of our new Debon C500 trailers has just arrived and been collected from the dealers. Pictured below this gives us a decent amount of additional carrying capacity, both in space and weight terms. It also looks the part being a modern construction, so will look great parked up at events.

Debon C500 Roadster
Debon C500 Roadster

The first thing we did on taking delivery, was to get it straight into our graphics people to have it lettered. Now this is a new thing for us. In the past because of the amount of jobs we did for other events companies we shied away from having the vans personalised. But with some young blood on the management team we have rethought that position and will be making sure our new Crazy & Co. brand is front and centre whenever possible.

Ziggy & Our New Branding

Pictured below is the current design for the trailer. Ziggy our zebra logo is prominent, along with details of what we do. Our web and social media, and a quirky saying for those following us to laugh about.

After A Trip To HGGraphics
Proposed Lettering

Resources : Graphics by HGGraphics

Trailer : Debon Trailers

Catering, Equipment, Event Planning, Food Trucks, Fun Story

Food Trucks From CRAZY & Co.

22 September 2022
Our Horsebox Food Truck before And After

Vintage Horsebox

Next up in our new range of food trucks is our converted horse box. We looked at a wide range of converted horse trailers, but were never 100% happy with the design. We happened by chance upon a maker called Sinclair, long defunct, but their trailers were different as they had a curved front panel rather than the usual triangular style.

After much searching we located one at the other end of the country, a brief conversation and we were told that it is perfect, ready for the road.

Cue and early morning trip to Bournemouth. On arrival, the rather vacant sounding young man informed us that actually the lights don’t work. Hmm, so not quite road worthy then. Luckily I had the foresight to throw a lighboard in.

However upon examining the trailer we discovered that it had four different sized wheels.

“Tell you what mate, I’ll ring the boss and tell her about the trailer and let you know”

Check out our other food trucks.

Knutsford

Luckily I had a back up plan, I had found another trailer at Knutsford, only about 100 miles out of our way on the return trip lol, and this one was described as ‘mint’.

We duly arrived at Knutsford. The trailer was far from mint, but it was suitable for what we wanted. We struck a deal, coupled up and discovered that a short on the trailer lights had blew the lights on the van. That turned into a whole other saga as changing the fuse necessitated a full strip down of the dash to reach the bloody thing.

But I digress, we set off home sans lights. On the way we did receive a text message from the first seller asking when we would be returning for the first trailer. FFS, we left there 7 hours ago.

Not Quite Mint, But Useable or What We Wanted
The Initial Strip Down

After careful consideration we decided that rather than doing what most people seem to do, a quick coat of brush paint and throw some counters in, we decided to make it something nice.

So we started with a complete strip down to the bare frames, leaving my other half to retort, all you have actually bought is a bloody frame!

Taking it back to bare metal we primed everything with rustcoat, then coated the entire frame with black Raptor, one of our favourite products. This gives a hard wearing textured finish that protects everything and covers amazingly well.

New Flooring

One of the concerns the health inspector had was that the original floor would contain years of horse urine soaked into the wood. No probs, as we stripped and burned the original wood flooring and binned the rubber coating.

A new wood floor was fitted, two coats of stain to seal it, then a new rubber coating.

Fitting A New Floor

Big Decision, Wooden Cladding

One of the major decisions was how we were going to finish the exterior. The original wood was a high grade hardwood, but because all the screws and bolts were seized in, we pretty much destroyed it taking it off. A trip to our local wood guys yard and a look through his collection of woods saw us settling on Sapele. A tropical hardwood that is related to mahogany, and is a fabulous colour, ranging from red to golden brown.

We used a soak in wood treatment on all the panels, then a number of coats of satin varnish, as we didn’t want an overly glossy look to the trailer.

We also settled on a satin black for the fibreglass roof and aluminium corner panels. Again, we wanted a less shiny look, though I admit the satin clearcoat was a nightmare to spray without it looking patchy. In the end after numerous attempts I gave up. But curiously, after a couple of weeks the patches disappeared and a uniform coating appeared????

Front Panels

The front corner panels were steel, they were overly heavy and badly rusted, so we replaced them with three mm aluminium. In retrospect two mm might have been sufficient as the three really took some bending.

Making It Different

We wanted a different look to the usual horse trailers, and I freely admit that we had seen an American horse trailer that we loved, so we used that for inspiration. One of the things we added to achieve this different look was a number of windows, both to let light into the trailer, and to add some visual appeal.

On To The Interior

Finally we got started with the interior. A number of steel frames were built in situ, with sapele front panels added and temporary countertops in MDF. A water tank, water heater and waste system, single and three phase electrics and a cooking fume extraction system. Also in common with our other food trucks we added a 42 inch display for menus and such.

The interior corners we added alternating sapele and idigbo strips to add some visual effect.

Another Of Our Food Trucks Almost Finished

Our programmable light panel.

We added decorative copper panels to the exterior and additional windows to the front. Just waiting on the production of our top sign at this point.

Horse Box Catering Trailer, another of our food trucks

Sign finished and fitted

Event Planning, funfair events

6 Tips On Dodgem Hire

3 April 2022
Broken Dodgems

Dodgems are easily one the most popular funfair ride available to hire. There are some absolutely fabulous examples available. Unfortunately there are also some complete cowboys, operating complete garbage. Read our 6 tips on dodgem hire to avoid the junk.

When have read through it, visit us for a dodgem quote for your event.

1 Work Out What Type You Need

There are 2 main types of dodgem rides, continental or traditional British style. Although the ride experience is essentially the same, they each have some unique strengths.

Hire Dodgems Continental Style

This type is the modern, slightly larger, ofton oblong shaped dodgem track. The ride essentially folds up on itself, and is then raised hydraulically off the floor allowing wheels to be fitted. The main advantage of this type is speed. Generally a smaller crew, can erect a continental dodgem in half the time of the traditional type. They also tend to be more highly decorated, with better sound systems and airbrushed artwork. The main drawback is the fact that they need to be driven into position. They cant be taken over a wall, through a narrow gate or up stairs.

Continental Dodgems For Hire 6 Tips On Dodgem Hire
Continental Dodgems For Hire

Traditional Dodgems

The traditional dodgem on the other hand, dismantles into small sections. It can be carried into almost any venue. The drawback with the ride, is the fact that it can take 6-8 hours to erect, as opposed to 3-4 hours for a continental type.

Traditional Funfair Dodgems Ride
Traditional Dodgems For Hire

2 Find Out Exactly What You Are Getting

Most rides of either type, need 2 heavy goods vehicles (averaging around 7 m.p.g), a support vehicle. Generator, 4-6 staff. 2 days to set up, operate and dismantle. Insurance, maintenance and general running costs. All legitimate operators have these as fixed, unavoidable expenses. So when someone offers you a dodgem for half the price of everybody else, you should be suspect.

I know of 2 unscrupulous operators with the following deals;

The first would offer you dodgems for around £800. Less than half the going rate. You would book them thinking you are getting a super deal. When the dodgems arrive and erected, you find that they have no lights, no music, no rain cover and 4 dodgem cars. When you query this sorry state of affairs, you are shown a folder with a picture of the £800 dodgems in, which is what you’ve hired. The operator would then turn a page showing a picture of the £1000 dodgems, which is the same ride but with a rain cover added. This process would be repeated a page at a time, until the final picture showed a fully set up dodgems for around the £2200 mark. Your choice at this point is to go ahead with the rubbish you’ve hired. Or pony up another £1400 to get a proper specced set up.

Broken Dodgems
What You Could End Up With

The Second Deal

The second one was even worse. They guy would quote a super low price, but when you wanted to book you have to agree to fork up a £500 non refundable deposit. The day before your event, you are informed that the dodgems, sadly, have broken down, but don’t worry, you are going to be supplied with a simulator ride, or a Miami or similar. When you complain that’s not what you want and ask to cancel, you are told you don’t get your deposit back. Again your choice is to accept what you are offered, or start court proceedings Would you win? Most probably, but would the hassle and stress be worth it?

3 Agree Your Operating Times

This is a must, a standard time slot is around 6 hours opening. They also need to be consecutive hours. We had one client booked us for 6 hours and wanted 3 hours one day, and 3 2 days later. Sorry, but the price quoted wasn’t to cover the ride being tied up for an additional 2 days. You wouldn’t be able to do that when you hired a car, so why would you think you could in this scenario.

4 Agree Set Up Times

Usually dodgems are erected the evening before they are needed, and dismantled straight after the event. Depending on the work load, an operator may agree to leave them in situ when the event finishes and come back the next day. However don’t just presume this. Quite often we can be operating on a saturday night at one venue, and need to be in position at another Sunday morning.

5 Make Sure You Receive All The Safety Docs

Of all our 6 tips on dodgem hire, this one is the most important.

Currently a reputable operator should be able to supply as a minimum;

  • Public Liability Insurance Certificate Of At Least £5 Million
  • Risk Assessments
  • Method Statements
  • Daily Check Log Book
  • Adips Annual Inspection Certificate

The good operators will go farther and supply additional health and safety documentation. With regards to the ADIPS certificate, check it out at ADIPS.co.uk to ensure it is genuine. The advent of the scanner and photo shop means a young kid can alter the date or name on a certificate. Same goes for the insurance.

6 Ask For Testimonials

The best operators in the hire arena tend to specialise in these jobs exclusively. Some operators spend most of their time at traditional funfairs, and the private jobs are an afterthought. That’s not to say some of these aren’t quite good. They are, but the best operators tend to pay more attention to customer service, and operate to a higher standard. By all means ask for contact names at some of the larger corporate clients they have had. A good operator should have no issue with sending you details of jobs they have done.

If after reading our 6 tips on dodgem hire you are still unsure, by all means drop us an email asking for help.

Catering, Event Planning, funfair events

When The Fair Comes To Town

30 March 2022
Fair From The Air

Have you ever wondered about when the fair comes town. It suddenly appear on your doorstep, almost overnight in many cases?

The funfair owner just gets up one day and decides to come and set up in the park across from your house right?

Erm, no, not exactly. Most events are planned months in advance. Indeed many fairs follow a regular date, in some cases stretching back hundreds of years. They tend to be the culmination of much planning, regular meetings, inspections and so on.

We were responsible for a few years for the fairground supplied in conjunction with the summer festival at Gainsborough. I had happened across the event whilst passing through the town one summer day. I contacted the organisers about attending with some attractions at the following years event. This was politely declined, and I tried again the following year with a similar result. Out of the blue I received an email asking if I would like to supply a couple of candy floss and Popcorn stalls. So cue a meeting with the relevant people, a deal was agreed and I was asked to supply all of my safety documentation.

A few weeks later, again out of the blue, the organisers asked if I would be interested in supplying a full range of attractions. This meant another meeting and plans being discussed. This proceeded quite well, until it was pointed out that the council couldn’t agree this with us directly, it had to be put out to tender to a minimum of 3 operators.

All 3 of us submitted tenders, and eventually we were notified that we had been successful.

More Meetings

After receiving the green light, we submitted details of the actual line up we proposed along with safety documentation. Then the council Health & Safety team contacted us asking for an onsite meeting. Cue another trip to Gainsborough to talk through their concerns.

Full steam ahead now, or so we thought. Until we were informed that part of the car park could not be occupied. It turns out that a local solicitors needed 24hr access to their building. So this meant a rewrite of the plan, and some modification to the line up we were bringing.

The day before the event, we had to be in Gainsborough to oversee the setting up and siting of rides. We were obviously there for the day of the event. Also the day after to ensure we had cleaned the site up and caused no damage. Oh, and the organisers wanted a debriefing meeting to discuss any issues that had come up.

So you can see, far from just rolling up, we had not only to deal with numerous organisations and individuals at the planning stage. We also had to travel to Gainsborough a number of times, for in the end what was a 1 day event.

When the fair comes to town, its the result of a lot of hard work, before the rides even turn up.

Event Planning, Fun Story, Funfair Games

Wedding Crazy Golf Hire

1 October 2021
Crazy Golf For Weddings Parties Events

Our crazy golf has been a big hit this season. We have however been inundated with requests for a more ‘wedding’ themed layout. We finally got around to putting together our initial wedding course for a client. Pictured here are our initial wedding crazy golf 9 holes. Like most things we will modify and adapt this at it evolves and we come up with better ideas.

Wedding Golf Hole 1
Wedding Golf Hole

Hole 1….Love

Slalom the love letters, around the rotating wedding shoes, miss the stacked hearts and then into the birdcage. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Wedding Golf Hole 2

Hole 2….Hearts

The iconic symbol of love is the heart. And we have lots of them, in various shades. Throw in a bouquet or two and you have our second hole.

Wedding Golf Hole 3

Hole 3…Ducks Of Love

Our classic rubber duck hole. Through the ducks of love, avoid the funfair shooting gallery ducks, then up the ramp and into the bath.

Wedding Golf Hole 4

Hole 4…Let Them Eat Cake

An important part of the day. The wedding cake. A selection of cakes, with fun toppers.

Wedding Golf Hole 5

Hole 5….Make A Wish

Through the wishing well, dodge the windmill, and into the hole. On a role now.

Wedding Golf Hole 6

Hole 6…Diamond Geezer

Dodge the diamond solitaire. Loop the loop of the engagement ring, up the bridge and into the hole.

Wedding Golf Hole 7

Hole 7…Lucky Horseshoes

Lots of luck here, horseshoes galore.

Wedding Golf Hole 8

Hole 8…Can The Can

The classic wedding cans attached to the back of cars as the happy couple flee the scene.

Wedding Golf Hole 9

Hole 9…Mr & Mrs

The final hurdle, through the wedding party of skittles, slalom the happy couple (Which can be Mr & Mr or Mrs & Mrs) and up the ramp to the finish. Bobs your Uncle.

Of course you don’t have to have our wedding crazy golf for your event. You can just as easily have one of our multi themed golf courses.

Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides

Nottingham Goose Fair, A Major Fair

27 September 2021
Goosey

Another of our looks at some of the major funfair events throughout the UK. One of three fairs to carry the name ‘Goose Fair’. nottingham is the largest. The others being in Tavistock and Colyford East Devon.

History dates the event back to a royal charter in 1284 granted by King Edward I. Though fairs in Nottingham were thought to predate this. Originally taking place in September, it was moved to an October date in 1752 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted.

It has taken place every year since then, save for 1646 when an outbreak of the bubonic plague stopped it, the two World wars, and obviously 2020 when the covid pandemic struck.

Early History

The creation of fairs by royal charter was a common occurrence in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. King Henry II had granted a charter for an annual Martinmas fair in Lenton Priory in November. This gave prominence to that event and prevented other fairs from competing with it. The 1284 charter giving Nottingham it’s own fair saw the event grow in size and prestige.

Records first mention the Goose Fair name in 1541, where it is referred to in borough records as ‘goosey fair day.’ The name comes from the thousands of geese driven from Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire to be sold in Nottingham. Like many fairs it started as a trade fair, for the sale of livestock, geese and most famously its high quality cheese. At this time it was based in the Old Market Square.

When It Really Was A Goose Fair
When It Really Was A Goose Fair

Entertainment

In common with other events of the nature, side shows and other entertainment was added to the event, gradually diminishing the trade element. As shops evolved and transport links increased, annual events like this were no longer a necessity to stock up the larder. The dawn of steam and mechanisation saw rides being added to the event. The traditional carousels, switchbacks, gondola rides and animal manageries gradually increasing in mumber.

Historic Nottingham Goose Fair
Historic Nottingham Goose Fair

As the event spread out it overwhelmed the market square and began to cause problems with congestion, not helped by the increase in traffic through the town centre. The decision as taken to move the event in 1928 to the Forest Recreation ground. A move resisted by the showmen, but in the event proving ideal, being twice the size of the market square.

Modern History

Held annually on the recreation ground for five days, it boasts over five hundred attractions. Everything from traditional carousels to the latest white knuckle thrill attractions.

The roundabout on the approach to the fair is notable for its giant fibreglass goose called ‘Goosey’ which appears in the run up to the fair taking place. The Lord Mayor opens the event with the ringing of a pair of silver bells. Still a massively popular event attracting over 500,000 visitors annually the fair has an excellent record as regards safety and trouble happening.

Goosey
Goosey
Event Planning, Fun Story, Funfair Rides

Sid Howell, Fairground Artists

21 September 2021
Fred Thompsons Ark

Another in our series of portraits on the great fairground artists. Sid Howell, and indeed his father Albert, were two highly regarded painters at the firm of Orton Sons, & Spooner. Or more commonly Orton & Spooner as it was referred to within the funfair industry.

The company produced some of the most ornate and elaborate rides, stalls and showfronts during the early part of the 20th Century. Indeed little since has come close to matching their style, both the early rococo theme or the later Art Deco. They were well known for employing the best of artisans and artists to work on their rides.

Sid Howell was born in 1906 in Bristol, but moved with the family to Burton On Trent, the homebase of Orton and Spooner. He not only studied art at school, but was helped with additional coaching from his father, and received actual working experience at the firm.

By the time he was 18, he had completed a study course at Burton Art School, and eventually qualified to teach the subject.

Many would assume that he would follow his father in to the amusement ride firm, but he chose a different path, instead accepting a position as trainee draughtsman at Branston Artificial Silk. Sadly this didn’t work out as the company folded three years later.

Sid Howell
Sid Howell

Orton Sons, And Spooner

When Sid found himself unemployed in a period where jobs were scarce, he ended up joining his father Albert decorating funfair attractions. He brought the benefits of a new younger generation to the company. His knowledge of new techniques and his introduction of newer styles was evident in the standard of work being turned out.

The father and son team were a perfect match, especially on the many jungle scenes they painted together.

They were interrupted during the war years, as were most ride manufacturers. But happily by 1946 the company was back producing rides.

Edwards Ben Hur

Robert Edwards owned a Noah’s Ark that had been built in the mid 30’s. He placed an order for the ride to be rebuilt.

The rounding boards were painted in the familiar jungle theme, quite probably by Albert. Sid however designed and painted a scene from Ben Hur on the main front panels. At over 40ft wide and 15ft tall it was a stunning work of art. This was widely recognised as the finest work of his career. Keep in mind that the front not only had to look right at ground level, but also when it was placed in the air. Add in the fact that the front was curved, and you have an idea of the level of skill involved in his creation.

The Famous Ben Hur Front
The Famous Ben Hur Front

Much of the fabulous artwork from these early artists has been lost, either when the rides were retired and scrapped, or when, as often happened they were repainted to keep them fresh.

Dingles

Happily the Ben Hur ark survived. It is now a resident at the Dingles Heritage Museum in West Devon. Well worth a trip out to see.

Dingles Fairground Museum
Dingles Fairground Museum
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Sid eventually left Orton & Spooner as work from the showmen gradually dried up. The company turned away from the industry .

Sid had a spell undertaking freelance work, and worked at an amusement park, and also Blackpool’s famous illuminations.

He died in 1966, but the immensity of his talent lives on in his finest work.

His son, Alan S. Howell, researched and wrote a book about the artists of Orton & Spooner titled ‘Men At Work‘. This is fetching sums in excess of £100 for a paperback copy. It would be well worth a read if you can get your hands on one.

Men At Work
Men At Work

Resources;

Fairground Heritage Trust https://www.fairground-heritage.org.uk/

Joyland Books https://www.joylandbooks.com

Event Planning, Fun Story, funfair events, Funfair Rides

Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd., A Manufacturer Profile

14 September 2021
Orton Spooners Three Abreast

The golden years of fairgrounds in the UK, pretty much the Victorian era really. Saw numerous home grown companies providing the ever expanding scene with rides and shows that were works of art. Sadly like much of British industry, few ride manufacturers still remain. The legendary names of old seem to limp along in various forms until about the last third of the 20th century before finally fading away. Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd was one such name, responsible for some of the most ornate switchbacks, arks and shows ever to appear on the fairground, they ended as equipment handling manufacturers before ceasing to trade around 1977.

George Orton

Originally they were two separate companies. The first being the Lion Carriage Works. Set up by George Orton who manufactured gypsy wagons as well as drays and carriages for other industries. Based in Burton upon Trent, he received his first commision for a Showman’s wagon around 1883. At that period in history, showmen not only lived in their wagons, but they tended to be highly carved and ornate and formed the front part of a travelling show.

Typical Orton & Spooner Showmans Wagon
Typical Orton & Spooner Showmans Wagon

Charles Spooner

A young man named Charles Spooner, owner of the ‘Swan Works’, in Burton was one of Orton’s suppliers. A wood carver who had been apprenticed to Walter Gifford Hilton he supplied drays and carts to the thriving brewing industry in Burton.

Orton contracted him to provide carvings for his showfronts and wagons. This symbiotic relationship flourished to the point that the two companies were amalgamated in 1925 as Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd.

Ride Manufacturing

They soon expanded their range into the full scale building of rides and showfronts and came to dominate the market. Their highly ornate, exquisitely decorated constructions were far in advance of the plainer, less impressive offerings from competitors, indeed the breathtaking scale of their offerings haven’t been matched since.

Scenic Railway Whale

The picture above is a typical example taken from one of their scenic railways. Superbly detailed and robustly constructed, these cars were said to weigh around 1500kg’s each, with a complete ride in the 35-40 tonne bracket.

They built their first scenic for Holland Brothers in 1912, some 57 feet in diameter and powered by no fewer than eight electric motors. Over the next twenty years they completed over 30 of these rides.

World War I

The first World War, saw the company requisitioned to produce aircraft hangers, but successfully re launched into the fairground market in 1919 with another scenic railway.

Their final scenic was delivered in 1925, with the type coming to the end of its popularity. Smaller and lighter attractions now ruled the roost, with Noah’s Arks, Waltzers and Speedways being in demand. They also turned out an estimated 50 dodgem tracks, along with ghost trains, shows and side stalls. They built the first skid ride for the famous Midlands showman Pat Collins in 1928.

Sadly George Orton passed away at the age of 81 in 1924. The company now being in the hands of his sons, and Charles Spooner, who had married his daughter Anne.

From the onset the business employed only the best artisans and artists. The father and son teaming of Albert and Sid Howell being responsible for some of the stunning art gracing the fronts and rounding boards of these rides.

Painted By The Howells, My Gt Grandfather Fred Thompson's Ark Front.
Painted By The Howells, My Gt Grandfather Fred Thompson’s Ark Front.
Widely Considered Sid Howells Best Artwork, Edwards's Ben Hur
Widely Considered Sid Howells Best Artwork, Edwards’s Ben Hur

The Ben Hur front for Edwards ark was considered to be Sid Howells greatest work. The image above doesn’t do justice to the sheer size and scale of the work which was around 15ft high and over 40ft long.

Carving

Charles Spooner gained a reputation as being amongst the finest wood carvers in the business. Creating examples of pretty much everything required on rides at that time. The company was quick to respond to current affairs. Producing animals carved as Generals during the Boer war, and armoured cars and tanks during WWI.

Boer War Generals Carved As Centaurs
Boer War Generals Carved As Centaurs

They successfully transitioned from their early Rococo style creations, as the country moved into the Art Deco period. They produced modern, for the time, decor with curves and swooping forms. Decorated with modern airplanes and train engines, mixed in with bright colours and influences of the exotic from the far east and Egypt.

In common with much of industry, they gradually moved away from the one off hand crafted work. To a more standardised production line using stencils and patterned parts. To keep up with increased demand and competition this was a necessary evil. It did mean though that we would never again see the wonderful fronts and carvings for which they had become famous.

World War II

Charles Spooner died at the beginning of WWII. The bulk of the companies efforts being the manufacturing of military vehicles during the war.

They recommenced work in the fairground industry after the war. But it was a changed world, demand from the showmen was dropping off, and they began to diversify into other engineering work. 1954 marked the final break with fairground manufacture, and the company soldiered on until finally falling into receivership in 1977.

Orton, Sons and Spooner Ltd will be remembered as one of the greats of the last century.

Sources;

The Fairground Heritage Trust https://www.fairground-heritage.org.uk/

National Fairground And Circus Archive https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/nfca

Event Planning, Fun Story

Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Saving Lives

26 July 2021
Yorkshire Air Ambulance Logo

Not exactly our usual post this one. If you have come here hoping for some more stories of the cock up’s we have made. Or a review of a funfair manufacturer. Then I can only apologise.

The only connection we have with the star of this post, is that we are now based in Yorkshire. Oh, and I have a pilots licence, though not for rotary craft (helicopters).

Most of us drive. Some of us quite a lot. A split second mistake could be disastrous, leaving any of us with serious injuries, possibly life threatening. At times like that we are quite likely to need these guys. So letting everyone know about them is always worthwhile.

History Of The Air Ambulance

The first air ambulance service started in 1933. With a flight from Wideford Airport in Orkney. A night time flight was made from the same location in February 1939 using car headlights to help during the take off and landing.

The aircraft, registration G-ACEW was a General Aircraft Monospar.

General Aircraft Monospar
General Aircraft Monospar

This was a fixed wing aircraft (think aeroplane) rather than the more common helicopters you see today. Both types of aircraft have their advantages. Fixed wing tend to be faster and have a longer range. Heli’s the ability to land in small spaces such as on a minor road, or in an industrial estate.

Emergency Air Ambulances

Generally the modern service is based on helicopters. These are used to respond to medical emergencies in support of land based ambulances. Nearly all of them are charity funded. With the charities either owning the aircraft directly, or contracting in private service providers.

The staff are usually seconded from the NHS and local ambulance services. There are a surprising number of Air services around the UK covering most of the country.

Yorkshire

Our local service was established in October 2000. Currently they operate two Airbus H145 aircraft. Like most of the services they are reliant solely on the donations of individuals and organisations.

Yorkshire Ambulance Airbus
Yorkshire Ambulance Airbus

Originally developed between Airbus and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The craft is basically the front end of Eurocopters EC135 and the rear of a BK117 C1 helicopter. A previous joint production between the two companies.

Nostell Priory Base

The charity was originally based in Nostell Priory, an estate in Yorkshire that was purchased by the Winn family in 1654. A family that originally made its fortune in the textile trade in London during Tudor times.

The first active heli, was based at Leeds/Bradford airport, where overnight maintenance facilities allowed a high state of readiness. A new operations centre was built and became operational at Nostell in 2013, including a hanger and aircrew accommodation and the aircraft moved to that base.

A second aircraft and base was opened in Sheffield in 2007, but closed a year later. With the aircraft being rebased first at Bagby in Thirsk, then eventually sharing a base at RAF Topcliffe with the 645 Gliding Squadron.

There are landing pads for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance at most of the major regional hospitals including Leeds, Hull and Middlesbrough allowing high speed patient delivery straight to casualty.

Nostell Priory
Nostell Priory

Richard Hammond

One of the services most high profile cases was the high speed crash suffered by Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond at Elvington airfield. Hammond was driving a jet powered drag car called Vampire, powered by a Bristol-Siddeley Orpheus turbojet engine, when he crashed at 319 MPH.

He was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary by the aircrew and spent five weeks recovering, including two weeks in a severe coma.

Richard Hammond Crash
Richard Hammond Crash

The Yorkshire Air Ambulance relies entirely on charity donations. head over to their website and check out some of the merchandise on sale to support their operations.

Resources