An annual event for Mayflower Archers is the Essex Country Show held at our home site at Barleylands Farm in Billericay. This event began life as the Essex Steam Rally and is one of the largest festivals of steam powered engines in the country, with everything from huge steam driven threshing machines to a tiny steam powered clock.
The event has grown over the years and now occupies a massive site at the farm for the two day event. It has become our main source of new members as we encourage people attending the come & tray to participate in one of our beginners courses.
The hardy few camp over at our site, allegedly to protect the equipment, but the live music and cheap beer for exhibitors on the Saturday evening is probably the bigger pull. Having decided to join our team for Sunday only this year, I was somewhat suspicious when I got a phone call from one of the campers (who sounded a little hung over) to say that a film crew had arrived early that morning and were awaiting the arrival of the team from Top Gear.
Deciding this story was too way out even for a hung over archer, I decided to head off to our site early, and sure enough I met a crew of about a dozen complete with huge RV and three open top BMW’s emblazoned with the logo ‘Dukes of Harlow’. I was still not convinced by the rumours that this was actually the Top Gear team, until an extremely smart Ferrari turned up with James May at the wheel. Within a short while Jeremy Clarkson arrived in a large black Mercedes followed by Richard Hammond who came by helicopter.
The three and their crew were contained in an area we use for parking our members cars and we even provided the crew with some hazard tape to rope ourselves and the Top Gear boys off from the public. A number of the security staff and crew had a go at archery whilst the three prepared themselves for their event in the RV.
No public announcement had been made about their arrival and it was only when the three entered the arena that the announcer was given a piece of paper saying who had just arrived. The stunt involved reversing the cars into one another, presumably part of a bigger story on the ‘Dukes of Harlow’. The stunt over, the three returned to our site and thanks to some new found archery fans amongst the security squad, we managed to get the three to sign one of our club shirts.
A bizarre and eventful day helped to pull quite a crowd to our site to make this one of the best shows we have had to date.
See the Photo Album page for photographs from the day -http://picasaweb.google.com/ECAA.photo.album
Robert Markham (Mayflower Archers)