This year’s event was originally scheduled for the first days of spring at the end of March and the re-arranged date took us into the time of year where temperatures are low, the weather unpredictable and with fading daylight after 15.30. The choice of area was based on the quality and challenge it offered but in order to access the competition zone and meet the essential requirements of good parking and an effective assembly arena, we had to adopt a solution involving remote starts and finish with a shuttle bus service.
This was effectively a split site event, which required a large team of helpers without whom it would not have happened. It was not made any easier by the fact that mobile phone signals in the Forest of Dean are patchy and even professional VHF radio communication can be problematic at times. Hence there were many safety issues including road crossings on a busy road etc to consider. I am therefore very grateful to the Event Safety Officer, Richard Rossington (BOK), and our excellent helpers who made sure that the event was delivered safely and effectively. I also offer my thanks and congratulations to you, the runners, for getting back in one piece after negotiating such challenging courses in the wet underfoot conditions.
The event infrastructure relied very much on the shuttle bus service. When entry numbers almost doubled in the last 10 days before the event, I was grateful to Grindles Coaches in Cinderford for providing a double decker bus, which was the key to what I hope you all felt was an effective shuttle arrangement. Some of you also had the rare pleasure of views of the forest that most don’t see.
I have received many extremely favourable comments regarding the courses and I have passed them on to the Planners, Paul Gebbett and Mike Forrest. There was an issue with a control on course 17 and another regarding vegetation changes following Forestry Commission felling two days before the event, both of which will be addressed in the Planners’ comments.
With the light failing and the need to travel considerable distances it was no surprise that many prize winners were not able to attend the Southern Champs prize giving ceremony. We will attempt to deliver unclaimed medals and trophies in due course at up-coming events. Please contact me if you have any queries in this respect.
For those of you who did attend I am sure you enjoyed the opportunity to say thank you to Ian and Jenny Kevan for their many years of support to orienteering through their Ultrasport business. They have always been there for us through thick and thin, never stinting in advice and encouragement. I wish them both on your behalf a very long and enjoyable retirement.
My thanks are due to the Speech House Hotel and its staff, The Rising Sun Pub, the Forestry Commission, for allowing access to land and essential facilities.
I thank you all for attending our event in such numbers and hope that you considered the journey to the Forest of Dean worthwhile. However, my final thanks go to our Controller, Ray Collins, whose clear and steady advice I much appreciated when dealing with queries before, during and after the event.
The lost property left behind is listed below. Please contact me if you wish to claim any item.
Howard Thomas (BOK)
1.Two Yale type silver keys (1 x Thompson; 1 x Asec) and a key ring with black plastic coil and toggle, plus silver pendant (shape looks like outline of Australia)
2. 1 x right-handed thumb compass
3. 1 x green and black woollen finger glove with overlapping mitt.
4. 1 x woman’s beige woollen cap