Thirsk & Northallerton’s epic bed-push
It was a beautiful September Sunday morning with the sun shining and a hint of mist in the air as two cars set off from Northallerton, destination Leyburn Market Place.
Lion John Forrest had rescued two old hospital beds from a local scrap yard a few years ago. These had been used for bed races at the Northallerton carnival but had been gathering rust for the last few years. Some months ago Lion Andrea had come up with the idea of doing a bed push along the roads of North Yorkshire. We had listened to this and we thought it will never happen. We did not know Andrea though and somehow here we were embarking on this adventure.
Like all events they just do not happen, there had been permissions to seek, insurances to check, sponsorship to obtain and a little bit of scrounging to do. A nice mannequin was loaned from our local Barkers store and a trailer from Northallerton Caravan Breakers. What about a few wigs and a bit of fancy dress. Oh! and an Army Land Rover from the TA.
We were met by a local scout leader in Leyburn and a gathering of family and friends to see off the four volunteers. Pushing (and pulling) afor the entire 20 mile distance was Lion John Forrest (taking time off from his mayoral duties in Northallerton) who dressed for the occasion and had a multi coloured wig, Lion Andrea Crowe (our organiser), Lion President Stuart Cummings and Lion Andrew Triplow. Just after 9 am off they went, Margaret in the front vehicle checking out the route, Lion David in the second front vehicle with trailer containing the spare bed and other equipment. Coming up behind in the Land Rover were ‘Leggy’ and Preston . The Land Rover looked a picture with the Lions Feathers wafting in the wind on either side.
First hurdle was the railway crossing over the Wensleydale Railway. This bridge is controlled by lights, with the lights set back quite a way on the Leyburn side and the rise of the road on that side as well. Fortunately the team just made the top corner before the traffic set off from the Bedale side and were able to pass on the bridge. The next worry was Constable Burton, going down a decline before going over a bridge where the road narrowed and then into an incline. The team had to stop for a rest after that hill.
The roads were now starting to get busy and what a lot of caravans on the move. Fortunately the motorists were patient and even donated money as they slowed down to pass. Now is the time to thank all the drivers on the entire route whose journey was inconvenienced during the day, it was all for a good cause.
Andrea’s mum, who will forever be known as Mrs Crowe, met us just outside Patrick Brompton. Mrs Crowe has been a member of the WI for many years and showed off her skills with four cakes and loads of sandwiches. Yes, it would have been rude to refuse.
Back on the road before stiffness became a problem and onto Bedale Scout Hut where members of the Barnes Explorer Scouts had prepared lunch of soup and a roll. That went down very well. There was also time also for Lion Andrea to examine those blisters, not a pretty sight.
The team were then into the last leg onto Northallerton. Lion Malcolm Singleton suddenly appeared and made up the fifth member of the crew with the bed. By now the roads were a lot busier and as they came out of the Leeming Bar they were into the faster traffic. They resisted the urge to turn onto the A1(M) (good decision) and pushed on towards Morton-on-Swale. There were now some visibly tired bodies but the thought of making Northallerton Town Hall by 4 o clock was driving them on. Why so time critical, because this weekend was the Northallerton beer Festival and their licence expired at 4 pm.
A last rest just outside Ainderby Steeple and on ward they went. As they got to the bottom of Lees Lane there was an unexpected left turn into Romanby which caught the lead car off guard. However, a quick recovery saw the car in position just in time to witness the crew go under the railway bridge. Remember those feathers on the Land Rover. They got through in the centre of the road with a centimetre to spare. Phew!
Left into Northallerton High Street and the sight of a crowd of supporters outside the Town Hall was a welcome sight to behold. Did they make last orders; yes they did by the skin of their teeth. Even better £1 a pint – well it would have been rude not too.
Well done to the crew. Still not sure how much has been raised, looks like it will be somewhere near the £800 mark. Many thanks are expressed to ‘Vasstech of Northallerton’ for the corporate sponsorship and to’ Bluebird Studios of Northallerton’ for printing us some fantastic banners.
After a few days they have all recovered and are looking forward to the next challenge. Anyone want to hire a bed?