CAPABILITY EVENTS AT RAF INNSWORTH FINALE
29 January 2008
(UK) - On 18 January Capability Events laid out the red carpet for personnel of RAF Innsworth and welcomed them to a party to mark the closure of RAF Innsworth on 31 March 2008.
Capability Events were engaged by the RAF to act as the overall Event Managers of the closing party. The Company provided a liaison between the RAF organiser, Flight Lieutenant Paul Morgan, and all the event suppliers. Their role also incorporated the event production, providing the staging, power, sound, venue lighting, rigging and truss as well as supplying the toilets, furniture, rubbish management, entrance and emergency exits.
Hangars are not built to be used as a party venue and as such Capability Events had two key health and safety issues to overcome – the power supply and distribution plus providing emergency exits. To overcome the lack of power required for such an event Capability Events brought in a generator that was able to manage the specified power requirements and distribute it accordingly. The emergency exits were non existent, as at each end of the hangar were roller shutter doors, designed for aircraft rather than party goers. To ensure guest safety push bar exit doors were built that slotted in below the open rolling doors, these were easily lifted out at the end of the event, to allow vehicle access when clearing the site.
RAF Innsworth rocked until the early hours of Saturday morning to the sounds of The Chip Shop Boys, QEII (a fabulous Queen Tribute band), Johnny2Bad and Held By The Code and if that wasn’t enough the best sounds from the last 40 years were played by the disco until the final curtain at 3am.
Ben Leeke, Owner of Capability Events comments: Military hangars have notoriously bad acoustics, which was a challenge that we met head on with this event. The starlight backdrop we used behind the stage provided protection against slap back and once the hangar filled with guests the music pumped out by the bands was loud but crystal clear.
Over 5,000 pints of beer, lager and cider were served throughout the evening in addition to shots and mixers as well as copious cocktails from the 60ft bar.
Leeke goes on to say: Spoilt for space, in a venue 70m x 30m, we were able to build a 33m bar, 3.6m of which was a dedicated cocktail bar, with 2 back bars. 18 bar staff were employed, including 2 cocktail flairers, allowing for smooth running drink distribution throughout the evening. Overall the event was a complete success with our trade mark ‘happy smiling faces’ throughout the evening until the small hours of Saturday morning.
Talking to Chris Sparks MBE, Regional Fund Raising Executive for the RAF Benevolent Fund, who spent his last tour of duty out of 36 years at RAF Innsworth, it seemed that the event marked the end of an important era for the RAF. Opened in 1940, RAF Innsworth was, and continued to be, the central administration centre for the RAF providing a central point to kit out and vaccinate RAF personnel before being shipped out in the Second World War. From the time of its opening RAF Innsworth held all female and male uniform in all sizes and fittings, as well as holding all inoculations required for every theatre in the world. Following its closure, between 2008 and 2011, RAF Innsworth will become a NATO/Army base housing the HQ for the Rapid Reaction Corps who are currently based in Germany.
Flight Lieutenant Paul Morgan, RAF organiser of the party comments: It was a bittersweet evening, celebrating 68 years of RAF Innsworth but saying goodbye at the same time. Although many of us will be posted to Air Command High Wycombe, which will take over RAF central administration, we will be leaving behind many of our civilian colleagues who have helped with the smooth running of the camp during our time here.
Morgan adds: The party was a sell out, with 1000 RAF and civilian personnel attending. I am very grateful to Capability Events for their invaluable assistance and highly professional service (without whom I would have even less hair), along with all the station and committee members who worked so hard in making it such a success.
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