Anti Nicolas Maduro Demonstration – Belgrave Square, London – 13 May 2017

Protesters gathered under the statue of Simon Bolivar in Belgrave Square, Belgravia, demonstrating against the actions of ‘dictator’ Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and in memory of fellow protesters killed in that country.

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Abingdon Air & Country Show – Dalton Barracks – 14 May 2017

The airshow at the former RAF airfield suffered a number of pre-event cancellations and periods of bad weather – despite being moved a couple of weeks further into the year in an attempt to avoid those incidents from which it had previously suffered.  As always though, Neil Porter and his small team delivered a highly entertaining program of flying and ground activities, with revised regulations necessitating a complete re-design of the public access and viewing areas. One of the Twister team experienced an engine failure resulting in a heavy emergency landing and injuries to the pilot, reported to be relatively minor. The following images hopefully illustrate a little of what was on offer to the visiting public.

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Anti Bullfighting Protest – London – 13 May 2017

Held in solidarity with protesters in Madrid, a protest was held in London against bullfighting and all forms of cruelty against animals. The demonstration gathered in Marble Arch where two of its members splattered themselves in fake blood, before the group proceeded to march to the Spanish embassy in Belgrave Square. Speakers included Jordi Casamitjana from the League Against Cruel Sports.

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Soapbox Derby – Billericay, Essex – 1 May 2017

A section of London Road in Billericay with a slight gradient was closed off to traffic to allow for a soapbox derby, whereby home-made carts raced down the course powered purely by gravity and a push from the start ramp. The course included two jumps and a chicane. Local businesses and schools were among the teams taking part. The event was run by the Rotary Club of Billericay to raise funds for charity.

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Gazelle 50th Commemorative Fly-in – Middle Wallop, Hampshire – 8 April 2017

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Aerospatiale Gazelle helicopter a fly-in took place at the home of the Army Air Corps – who have used the Gazelle since 1974. The Gazelle first flew on 7th April 1967. Production continued until 1996 with around 1775 built, many of which are still in service today – including with the British and French military who sent examples to the event. Many civilian operators also brought examples, and aircraft associated with the type’s role also attended.

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‘Poppies:Wave’ opened on Barge Pier – Shoeburyness, Essex – 11 April 2017

‘Poppies: Wave’ is one of two sections of the ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ art installation originally displayed at the Tower of London in 2014 which is being taken on tour around the UK. The artist of the work – Paul Cummins – opened the Wave section today on Barge Pier in Shoeburyness, Essex, within view of Southend and its longer pier. Barge Pier – formally Garrison Pier – is on the MoD-owned foreshore close to Gunners Park which has Great War history. The Shoebury Garrison was a training school for the Royal Garrison Artillery and the Royal Field Artillery, where new weapons were tested – work which continues today. Poppies: Wave will be on view to the public until 25 June 2017. Barge Pier itself is classified as an unsafe structure so will not be accessible, but viewing structures have been erected to allow raised viewing above the seawalls. Parking is available near to the Coastguard station, with a sign-posted walk.

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Celebrity Charity Football Match – Pitsea, Essex – 9 April 2017

A celebrity football match was held at the Bowers and Pitsea Football Club ground , Essex, hosted by United for Charity to raise funds for St. Luke’s, a local hospice. Ex West Ham and Spurs players were joined by stars from reality TV programmes such as Love Island, X-Factor, The Voice, Big Brother, The Apprentice, Britain’s Got Talent, Take Me Out and the soaps. Other actors and singers also took part. The celebrity team in blue lost 10-2, with actor Darren Luckin bundling over for their first goal and ex West Ham player Bertie Brayley scoring direct from the second half kick-off in three seconds, catching the keeper unawares. Prominent players amongst the celebrities included Che Chesterman (X Factor), Scott Robinson from 5ive, Danny Wisker (Big Brother), Jamie Reed (TOWIE), Harry Berry (Take Me Out), Sen Monro (actor), Ryan Green (The Voice), actor Tony Pasqua, rugby player George Kay (married to Kerry Katona) and Paul Manners (BGT) – briefly in goal and then running the line.

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