The 2014 On The Buses Event The Magnificent Seven Round-Up
And so The 2014 Annual On The Buses Event is over for another year. I will summarise how I feel the event went but first there are a long list of people to thank for making this event possible. Of course there is all of our attending celebrities, Steve Holden who runs The Official On The Buses Fan Club and does a lot of work behind the scenes to help, Dean Sullivan who supplies his wonderful Routemaster and more modern buses excelled once more and I am eternally grateful and Robert Hickey's help in locally visiting locations etc to warn of our visit and getting George Allen (The Forest Rangers) and his wife Bernadette to the event. Also a big thanks to all the staff at The Fairway Hall such as Jenny and the caretaker, Neville the soundman for his great help, Caroline and Ray our kitchen helpers, Paul Welsh MBE for his support and words of wit and wisdom, Steve Lilly who brought along his wonderful artwork, Jimmy Stanley for entertaining us with his specially-written song 'Ridin' On The Buses', our official photographer Cliff Harris and Milly the Baker's for supplying another great buffet lunch. Blimey, as Fletch of Porridge would say I sound like I am doing a dedication on The Jimmy Young Show.
Now onto the event and how it went. Well in true On The Buses fashion the bus tours got off to a late start but Dean and Steve (our drivers) made up a lot of that time and with glorious weather that part of the event went well with new locations visited. This year our celebrity guest list reached record breaking levels. It was great to have Roy Skeggs present for the first time and I know the Hammers fans present greatly appreciated his attendance. It was a privilege as always to listen to Ronnie Chesney and Stuart Allen talk about the formation of On The Buses. Anna Karen was to offer many laughs when explaining why Olive was such an endearing character and Pamela Cundell also had great words to offer. Aitch as always added to the event in a quiet and unassuming way. We also had special guests present who rose wonderfully to the occasion in the form of Robin Stewart, Judy Buxton and Jeffrey Holland (the latter two were present thanks to Our Disappearing Planet at late notice so thanks to everyone at that charity organisation for that).
The Saturday evening event at The Ark Theatre organised by The Elstree Screen Heritage was fantastic. The BBC Elstree Brass Band were to perform some wonderful musical arrangements from films and television series with an Elstree Studios connection. From the famous Dambusters March to Indiana Jones and from EastEnders to The Avengers it was a joy to listen to some great music. Of course the On The Buses Theme was one of my favourites along with the 'It's A Great Life On The Buses' theme song wonderfully orchestrated by the conductor. Also I'd like to wish retiring compere Keith Clement a very happy retirement. It made for a great way for us to unwind after a hectic day especially for me not having to worry about schedules and taxis.
Finally, onto Sunday and our walking tour saw around 20 paying people take to the town centre of Borehamwood to visit filming locations from films such as On The Buses, Mutiny On The Buses, Holiday On The Buses, Rising Damp, The Life Of Brian and George And Mildred. Also we covered television series such as Here Comes The Double Deckers, The Champions and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) before returning to Fairway Hall for On The Buses memorabilia displayed by Steve Holden and I found plenty of fascinating items. I was also to talk about my latest book An A To Z of On The Buses before signing and selling copies to round off the day at around 3pm.
I must add it was fantastic after it had all finished to be able to relax and unwind at the Toby Carvery and have my first chance to hit the alcohol and what a hilarious night it was. In the company of great people with a great sense of fun and humour I can't remember when I last laughed so much and I must apologise to our great photographer Cliff for not having a hankie to wipe away his tears of laughter. Great memories.
Finally, thanks for the feedback forms and I will go through those with interest. Also it would be great if you could send/post your photos of the day up on the Social Club on the website. Thank you all again for attending and I hope to see you all again in 2015.
Craig Walker (Event Organiser)