Preston Rally 2007
Save Dreamland Campaign on Tour...Paddling!

The Marsh family travelled to Margate to represent the Campaign at the Preston Rally. A few days taking the (damp) Thanet air preceded the event, time to liaise with Sarah who was arranging the equipment and suchlike.

The week got wetter and the event drew closer. Eric (once a referee always a referee) decided a pitch inspection was called for so Friday afternoon he visited the site with Susan, held discussions with the organiser Michael Cates, conferred with Trevor Williams (Showman) and declared the team should travel as it was still match on. Back to the Grotto to load their two cars with everything needed.

Early Saturday morning, after a night of very heavy rainfall, a worried team set off only to be met, in the lane leading to the site, by young stewards inviting them to leave the cars in the external car park as the field was not good. Susan, who is not a morning person and already damp and cold, explained that there was far too much to carry and our pitch was at the far side of the field!!!  Eventually the gate was reached and Eric felt another inspection was necessary so he walked the route only to find the weather had necessitated re-arrangements and the pitch, agreed the previous day, was no longer available. Trevor Williams was located and he really helped us out finding a spot near his gallopers and roundabouts, moving his truck to ensure we could park our cars near at hand. We got on …..

Stand building commenced, Eric and Stephen wrestled with a gazebo they had not met before and Susan set up the display and merchandise, the weather precluded displays on the gazebo. Sadly the weather affected attendance and the morning’s arena displays had to be abandoned as the ground was unsuitable but they did manage to get some lighter ones in at lunchtime and things perked up early afternoon. Visitors talked to the Campaign team and everyone was very supportive of our work, interested in the Heritage Park and viewing the concept plan. We received a visit from Dr Stephen Ladyman, the Member of Parliament for Thanet South who indicated his support for the work we were doing and got his companion to take a photograph of himself and Susan for his next newsletter.

Mid afternoon brought more heavy rain with Eric and Stephen having to keep emptying the gazebo roof that was filling up and weighing down. Gazebos are only showerproof and the inevitable happened; the skill was to stand between the leaks as we were fast resembling a sieve. Merchandise had to be hastily packed and protected under the tables. A very gusty dry spell came, a decision was made to take the opportunity to load the merchandise in cars,  but the banners etc could stay in place, the gazebo stay up to dry out and the opportunity taken to talk to people but ….. most had gone home. As the rain started again this was once too often, tables and chairs were packed away but disaster struck - the gazebo wouldn’t come down. Susan retired to the safety, and dryness, of a car leaving the menfolk struggling. Eventually the faulty mechanism was sourced and a very wet contraption was put away.

Sunday morning the sun was shining but the night had been very wet and the party set off yet again: this time to be met on the lane with the news no vehicles could get on the field. Well it was early and we had far too much to carry such a long way so Susan explained; this got two parking spaces right at the gate whilst Eric set off on yet another pitch inspection. Susan consulted with the organiser who felt we couldn’t get on, others also in the same predicament and the vintage car owners who were being turned away. The mud was clearly visible and tons of straw was being laid in the hope people and maybe some vehicles could at least access the near side where all the trade stands and suchlike were.

Trevor arrived on the scene and offered to look after us yet again by going and getting a vehicle capable of travelling through the mud and towing the cars on and then towing us off again at the end. Eric reappeared confirmed that cars wouldn’t be able to drive to the Campaign pitch, though that ground was still firm visitors would have to get through some very soft mud (tyre deep was mentioned) to reach us. Susan decided enough was enough, we were going to add to the problems of the day as so many vehicles, who had overnighted, were already marooned. Her little Fiesta wasn’t really built for all this and priority had to be given to those whose living depended on such things. Saying thank you to all our helpers, especially Trevor Williams, without whose help we wouldn’t have managed anything, the party retired from the site.

Back to the Grotto, where Sarah’s Mum knew the need for hot coffee when she saw it, the cars were unloaded and the wet items were dried in the yard before being packed away.

Now enjoy the picture gallery...

Stephen and Susan Marsh ready for action as the Save Dreamland stand opens for business.

A wider view of the stand before the crowds arrived. Note that this year the table has been pushed far enough back into the gazebo to enable visitors to get shelter from the rain, should shelter be needed. Just in case it decided to rain.

Stephen Marsh at the Save Dreamland stand.

The Save Dreamland banner, Campaign merchandise, membership forms and a guy rope.

Tha magnificant gallopers operated by friend of the Campaign, Trevor Williams.

The Dodgems were busy...

...and so were the Chair-o-planes.

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