Sponsored by the London Assembly this event was part of Richmond Council’s effort
to champion sustainable transport, boost the environment and encourage a healthier
lifestyle; it is a world wide campaign and over 40 countries take part.
This year the event was partnered and on the same day as the Great River Race which
is rowed and or paddled from Ham to Greenwich.
Aquarius SC was contacted by Richmond Council a few weeks earlier and invited to
participate in the ‘In town without my car’ festival to be held on Richmond Green
on 13 September 2008.
The brief I received, apart from outlining the purpose, indicated that the event
was free, that all facilities would be provided, including free parking for stall
holders around The Green. I immediately accepted the invitation, which seemed like
an amazing publicity and recruitment opportunity and set about planning what we could
do. Six years ago we had exhibited at something similar in Bushy Park I used that
as a model.
I started by updating all the club information handouts and then got some new graphics
together for the display boards. Dave Jennings and I then spent the Sunday prior
to the show scrubbing the clubs Laser Pico which was to form the focus of the clubs
Once the handouts were printed and the Pico was on my road trailer we were well on
the way. George Bray offered to help on the day so at 08:00 on Saturday the 13th
I picked him up and we headed for Richmond.
On arrival we were met by a lad who was sporting a tee shirt with ‘staff’ emblazoned
across the front. He ushered us into a parking space right outside The Cricketers’
pub and then stuck a huge great parking exemption ticket on the windshield. This
was intended to keep the traffic wardens (excuse the foul language) off our case
throughout the day. I hadn’t left the car for more than two minutes to hunt out our
‘pitch’ before the first two were eyeing up the BMW and Pico like a couple of hungry
At this point boy wonder in the tee shirt reappeared and pointing to the ticket on
the windshield, said they should have been briefed on the show and parking arrangements
and suggested that they push-off somewhere else. Good bloke my tee shirt friend and
the sharks cruised off looking like someone had just pinched their dinner. We got
the stand up and the Pico rigged pretty quickly, George is a dab hand with the old
bunting when he gets going. Once finished we had 15 minutes to kill so we wandered
over to the corner bistro for coffee.
The show itself was quite small. There were only twenty or thirty stands ranging
from health centres, rambling associations, various cycling organisations and shops,
Transdev, RNLI, and various health improvement outfits including holistic yoga and
vegan campaigners. We were the only sailing club and the yellow Pico attracted a
fair bit of attention, especially from the kids who crawled all over it. We had quite
a lot of interest from families, couples and singletons.
If half the people that we gave paperwork to actually come to the club, it will have
been worth the effort. I think the organisers were hoping that a lot of people would
drift over from watching the start of the Great River Race but I don’t think that
happened to any great extent.
One or two trips to The Cricketers for a brew helped the day pass and at 16:00 we
de-rigged the boat and packed up. I must thank George for all the work and help he
provided during the day, I know it was tiring because we were on our feet virtually
the whole time and the next day I ached. I can’t think it was any easier for George
but he did a great job and I’m very grateful. Thanks mate!
We got home about 17:30 and then had to think about getting back to Aquarius by 19:00
for the Quiz Night. On the way back a brake pad warning light came on in my car.
Another job for next week!