You would have thought that ensuring the safety of over 2000+ ladies around the streets of Burnley and Nelson on a Midnight walk would be a simple matter. Well think again, the organisation and planing that goes into the Marshalling is quite immense. The small section that Freemasons from Burnley & Pendle District had to contend with was at the point where the 5 mile and 8 mile walk diverged and if any confusion was about to take place this was going to be the spot. The rest of the marshaling group took post on the route up marsden road over toward Nelson, and even here a hazard had been identified and measures put in place to ensure the safety of the walkers. The sight of over 2000+ ladies all wearing flashing bunny ears and illuminated wigs was quite something. Considering they had all been at a free warm up concert by a “Take That” tribute band for the previous 2 hours they were all in good spirit and ready to go, but to be honest they were only about a mile out with plenty still to walk.
As soon as the end markers had passed, our section of Marshall’s regrouped at Staples car park, ready for a second deployment to pick up the ladies on their incoming leg and last few hundred yards back to Turf Moor. This was the time to move from labour to refreshment and flasks of tea and coffee emerged along with a pack of chocolate biscuits. If you didn’t see the biscuits you need to partner up with Bryon Lingard next time, he comes well prepared. The weather for the event was fantastic, and being on the streets of Burnley after midnight when all is quite is very strange. Only clubber’s and party goers normally get to see this part of day but it was quite pleasant.
The incoming walkers were of a different ilk than those on the outbound leg. The 5 or even 8 mile route had taken its toll and the pace had slowed considerably, even though the ladies still had smiles and a positive “good morning” and even “thank you’s” for Marshalling their route. Quite humbling really as all we had done was stand about and enjoy the spectacle. As far as I am aware there where no injuries or issues during the walk and there were plenty of police officers walking the route with even more patrolling in vehicles along the road. I was a little surprised that some of the main traffic light controlled junctions, which represented the highest risk area, were left to volunteers to Marshall, when a police officer on display could have been more effective.
The final walkers and the end markers came home around 3:45 am on Sunday morning and the Marshall’s followed them back to Turf Moor for a well deserved bacon butty and then home to bed.
On reflection the following morning it seemed very strange to think that only 6 or so hours previously we had been on the streets of Burnley along with over 2000+ ladies and supporting volunteers having a lot of fun and supporting a very worth cause. It was great to be part of, especially the marshalling which is a challenge the Freemasons of Burnley & Pendle District have excelled at and provided a valuable service on the night.
Secretly I hope we will get to do it all again next year………. Click on the screen to view a selection of images from the Burnley Express Newspaper or read the event report on PGLEL