Woolwich Great Get Together 2010

Saturday 26 June 2010
Royal Artillery Barracks

Following on from last year’s successful Great Get Togethers, organised by Greenwich Council, we were invited to come back again this year to fly the flag for the Meccano hobby and SELMEC at more of the popular events — laid on free for the public.

The General Election meant that the organisers were not able to give us much forewarning of the details, or even whether we would be able to participate in all the events. As it turned out we did have a stand at all three Great Get Togethers. Hopefully, we’ll be invited back next year.

Each Great Get Together has various community groups attending, the council’s departments have a presence, and free drinks were available from the council in the Talk Café where you can ask your councillors questions or, at least, send them a question. There was also a main stage with music of various types and an arena for big demonstrations.

The second of the Great Get Togethers was at the Woolwich Barracks on Saturday 26th June. Arriving on site early we were able to drive right up to the marquee space we had been allocated, provided we moved cars off-site before the public were admitted. A power supply had been provided but we were sharing this with several power hungry food stalls with their electric woks and other such devices. After some negotiation with the organisers an electrician was able to arrange us a reliable supply adequate for our limited needs. Again, the lovely new banner was proudly displayed over the marquee entrance.

Two boys ignoring their father’s warning not to play with guns!
Two boys ignoring their father’s warning not to play with guns!

Participating members were Frank Paine, Chris Warrell, Brian Leach and Chris Fry. Frank had brought a wide range of models and items of historical interest. Chris Warrell displayed his small circular train set and several nautically themed models recently seen at a SELMEC meeting. Brian gave the penultimate outing to his amazing fruit machine and a demonstration three-speed and reverse gate-change gearbox. Chris Fry brought along his usual stock selection of small display models and mechanisms.

What a wonderful day for the public! It was a hot, dry and sunny and many thousands of people were in attendance — possibly boosted by the arrival of a Red Devil parachute team by Chinook helicopter which landed in an adjacent playing field in advance of their later display. There were also other military displays of horse drawn gun-carriages and the like though we were far too busy to spend much time looking at these.

A steady stream of people filtered through our Meccano haven and it was gratifying how many youngsters were fascinated with the models on display. A surprising number acknowledged having small kits at home and were encouraged to start building their collections. A small number of interested parents also made enquiries about SELMEC membership for their children. It will be interesting to see whether we pick up any new members as a direct result of the event. We also had no difficulty in distributing flyers for the October Show and even had to start being a little choosy who we passed them onto as supplies ran short.

Personally, I thought it was a great event, but confess to feeling relieved when 4:00pm arrived and people started leaving. The combined heat and attending to all the visitors to our display was quite tiring and I had developed a nagging headache. However it was a thoroughly worthwhile outing and I would recommend other club members to get involved if further opportunities are offered next year.

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