On Your Marks under new starter’s orders

Organisation of one of the biggest and most spectacular annual charity events open to the public at Bruntingthorpe Airfield and Proving Ground – On Your Marks – is being taken over by C Walton Ltd., owners of the 680-acre site. As well as supporting the three main charities, Cancer Research, Wishes for Kids and Help For Heroes, a new fund – Bruntingthorpe Local Community Fund – is being established to benefit communities, organisations and good causes close to the former Cold War bomber base.

This year’s On Your Marks will be expanded to two-days over the weekend of 16th/17th September and feature exciting new attractions as well as many of those that made the event such a success in the past. There won’t be flying displays although aviation fans will be treated to fast-run displays along Bruntingthorpe’s two-mile runway by some of the jet aircraft from the Cold War Collection permanently housed at the proving ground.

Bruntingthorpe’s Managing Director, Dave Walton, said that when the two Asda employees who conceived On Your Marks 16 years ago, and master- minded its growth and development, announced that the 2016 event would be their last, he and his fellow family directors realised that such a popular and successful charity fund-raiser shouldn’t be lost if at all possible. “Over the years On Your Marks has raised approx £0.5 million for a number of deserving charities. And while we fully understood the personal and family reasons why the organisers, John Forde and Chris Goodwin, wanted to call it a day, we didn’t want such a popular event with the public to disappear and the huge financial support for the benefiting charities to end.

“Hence we are taking over the organising. The event will retain the good name of On Your Marks. It will be bigger and run over two days. This should mean everyone can enjoy the many spectacles on offer and, most importantly, the charities will be able to look forward to continuing financial support from the proceeds. However, joining the three charities will be a new fund designed specifically to benefit local communities and good causes who are Bruntingthorpe’s neighbours. We appreciate their continuing support and it is right that they too should benefit from On Your Marks now that it is being run by us.”

Mr Walton said he was delighted that although Asda was no longer sponsoring On Your Marks, one of the original organisers, John Forde, had accepted an invitation to become a consultant for the 2017 event. “He has tremendous credentials and his expertise will ensure that the event maintains the high standards it has achieved over the past 15 events. And we hope to see as many of his Asda colleagues as possible over the two days. After all, the event was originally conceived as a fund-raiser for an Asda employee.”

On Your Marks began 15 years ago when Mark Hickingbottom, an employee of Asda, was dying of lymphatic cancer after serving his country in the first Gulf War. John and his colleague Chris Goodwin approached Dave Walton and asked if they could have a day with some trucks and a few cars on the proving ground to raise some money for Mark’s care. David said yes and the day went well, raising £7,500. Sadly, Mark had died a week before the event. But all those involved suggested it became an annual fun day for Asda personnel, and invited guests, to support the charities. Mark’s family readily agreed to it being called On Your Marks. Since that first event more than £500,000 has been raised including what the charities took on the days.

This year’s event will see a return of the supercars – in which fast passenger rides can be bought – along with Vertical Trix motorsport stunt display team, the Paul Swift stunt car driving and the Leicestershire police dog display team. There will also be opportunities to get behind the wheel of karts, 4x4s and even HGVs as well as a funfair for the younger children.

In addition to the weekend’s exciting activities, there will also be a social event held on the evening of the 16th September in the fantastic new Hangar ’42 events centre on the Bruntingthorpe site. This will be a ‘Night of Tribute’ with a Queen tribute band in concert and a further band still to be announced. Tickets for this event are available separate to the main event.

A single admission fee for the main event of £20 per car and all its occupants will be charged and then there will be a separate charge for the individual experiences. To ensure easy access to the event on each day, tickets will be available in advance and are available via www.on-your-marks.info