On Hells Angels and our troops
What a fantastic weekend in South Shields, despite the huge disappointment of England’s pathetic World Cup exit to the Germans in such an inglorious fashion, others had a higher calling and spent the weekend raising money for charities that help families of our servicemen and displayed their own public spirit in a quite spectacular fashion.
One sizeable Tyneside community came together last weekend to bring a great deal of enjoyment and excitement to the people of South Tyneside and our hundreds of visitors, I refer to a group who are often maligned, at times wrongly, Hells Angels, bikers, and “petrol heads” took over a couple of venues to raise cash and to pay tribute to our heroes serving in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The Tyne Phoenix Motorbike Club held a large open air jumble sale at The Lord Clyde in South Shields on Saturday, which was well attended following the service held at St. Michael’s church, Westoe, which honoured the troops on Armed Forces Day. On Sunday the theme was carried to the Bents Park where hundreds of enthusiasts showed their machines including some giant names in the world of biking; Harley Davison, Honda, Suzuki, MotoGuzzi, BMW, Triumph, and Norton to name check just a few. Many had been customised and joined a huge display of “hot rod” motor cars and military vehicles which drew a huge crowd before the infamous match started, it also provided me with some exceptional photo opportunities.
Sunday’s event was organised by the Hells Angels CC and the Badlands MCC with help from South Tyneside Council and a number of sponsors, the sight of so many leather clad bandanna wearing motor cyclists herded together in massive crowd was not threatening or intimidating at all and a carnival atmosphere was most definitely evident. This motoring rally also had a concourse event where prizes were awarded to the best turned out vehicles, paint ball shooting for kids, children’s rides, rockwall climbing, 1940s military displays, marching display, a visit from the Deputy Mayor Cllr. Jim Sewell, and live rock bands in the afternoon and early evening. The event was scheduled to finish at 8:00 pm on Sunday and the £3 entrance fee was extremely good value (children went free), best of all these redneck bikers used the whole event to raise cash for Support the Troops and Help the Heroes, so their public spirit cannot be faulted and they deserve our praise!
I found it interesting that so many people were prepared to put their hands in their pockets to attend this spectacle, and perhaps there may be a lesson to be learned there by South Tyneside Council, the admission price was sensitively pitched and there were further opportunities to increase the charitable giving (if you wanted to) once inside. It shows that people don’t mind paying a reasonable ticket price to be entertained, perhaps easier if they know that they will be helping out charities at the same time, however my point is this – free concerts are a great attraction during the summer festival, but a well pitched ticket price could provide a subsidy which may attract even bigger names and even larger crowds. Larger crowds mean greater spending power and repeat visits, and if the Jethro Tull concert in Gypsies Green proves to be a success it may be worth thinking about using the venue in some future years for open air concerts as part of the festival, let’s face it a seaward facing stage at the New Crown end of the ground may be a little more palatable for nearby residents than the stage in the Bents Park. Food and beverage franchisees should be well catered for with prime space around the upper perimeter of the stadium.
Worth a thought?
I’ll be featuring pictures from this Sunday’s event in the Bents Park in South Shields Daily Pictures for the rest of this week.