The clocks going back didn’t deter GW4x4R members on Sunday 28 October, with Whitecliff Offroad Driving Centre in Coleford, Gloucestershire being the perfect venue for our Annual Training Day. And while the weather wasn’t too kind for those setting up on the Saturday (we had cold rain and even snow!), the Sunday of the main event was very different, with clear blue skies and, dare we say it, even moderately warm at the bottom of the quarry where the wind was low.
The day couldn’t start properly until tea/coffee was on the go and Mick Rees and Steve Pine started handing out bacon rolls. Phil Dews (chairman) and Mike Good (health & safety) then welcomed members to the event and ensured all were clear on their tasks for the day and safety on site.
It was great to see both controllers and response drivers turning up on the day, with members being assigned into one of four groups and the event being split into four tasks: off-road driving, blind driving, recovery techniques and first aid.
Jerry Greenhalgh set a great off-road course requiring many techniques and disciplines but suitable for all abilities and vehicles. Even Carol Bowley, our latest controller recruit, got behind the wheel for an experience, despite having never driven off road before!
Alan Williams, Andrew Morgan and Sandra Good also set a great course and kept nerves in check for the blind driving task, during which members were blindfolded and were required to navigate a predefined course with instructions from either their co-pilot or radio operator walking ahead of the vehicle. A big thank you to everyone that knew their left from right!!!
Ron Hart and Richard Ley then led a talk on recovery techniques, showing members basic recovery kit from strops, straps and soft shackles, to more advanced kit including winches and waffle boards.
Our very own first responder, Stephen Andrews headed up the first aid task and introduced us to the DRABC procedure. It was very much a hands-on task as members got to grips with basic CPR techniques on Resus Annie and were shown techniques for using AED Defibrillators and applying tourniquets.
We were also delighted to welcome reporters and camera operators from both the BBC and ITV. BBC Radio Gloucestershire covered the event on the Saturday, with Duncan Smith’s visit being reported on BBC Midlands Today and BBC Point West and Ken Goodman’s report on ITV West Country News, both being aired on Sunday evening.
We hope to get more pictures and video of the event uploaded soon, so please do check back again soon.
The next training event, GW4x4R’s first call-out exercise of the year, is scheduled for Thursday 15 November and will include all-important training on the new ARM system.