On the 13th of July, Putney SAC were invited to put up a stand at the Barnes Festival here in London. The festival is held annually and takes up the whole of the small “hamlet” of Barnes SW15. If you have never been to Barnes in London, you are missing out on a truly wonderful part of London, it was voted the “Best and Ideal Village in England”. Which is no small feat, when you consider the beautiful villages that we have in and around this wonderful England. The criterion for this accolade, was worked out by a number of “village” factors…does it have a pond, does it have a pub, does it have a church…etc etc. Barnes has it all, and is very pretty too!
As you can imagine, this also draws in people who can afford to live in such eloquence, especially so close to the hub of London. So when we were asked by the committee of the Barnes festival if we would like to set up a stand there, we jumped at the chance to promote our branch and the BSAC. Our branch is situated in the neighbouring borough of Putney & Wandsworth, only a five minute drive away, and is in an ideal catchment area for new members to the club.
So early on Saturday morning of the 13th, Darren Jones (Boat Officer) and John Heagney (D.O) picked up the club RHIB and made our way to Barnes. The festival organisers had marked out an area the size of a small table for our pitch to be set up in, needless to say, they didn’t quite expect us to have a RHIB & trailer, a 8m x 5m gazebo, and two 4 x 4 Land Rover’s.
As luck would have it, the area that we were given as our patch, was on the edge of the pond, and was a little out of the way from the rest of the festival….this proved to be a bit of a god send, as we were able to spread out and accommodate our entire display wonderfully! With the help from BSAC HQ, we were able to embellish our stand with BSAC flags and banners, and give out freebie items to our visitors, which went down very well indeed. We were inundated with enquiries from a number of source, such as…..lapsed BSAC members, PADI divers who were interested in taking up the sport more seriously..(we gently pointed out the difference between PADI and BSAC ) and gave due respect to both agencies. We were also approached by a D.O from another BSAC branch that was folding due to lack of numbers, and were looking out for a local BSAC club to regroup and join up with…so all in all a very successful and promising day.
Our branch put in a lot of hard work for this event, and I would just like to thank…Phillippa, Darren, Brian, Waleed, Michal, Sue, and Pete Strong our organiser and liaison man for the day, for all their efforts and teamwork.