Being safe and happy…

Wednesday 25th September 2013

Men’s First Team

Being safe and happy…

When supporters attend The Spitfire Ground, St Lawrence to watch cricket, they look forward to being entertained in a safe and happy environment, and that’s exactly what the club have aimed to do this season.

There is a tremendous amount of work carried out behind the scenes by the groundstaff to get the wicket and outfield ready for play and by Safety Officer Mo Moroney and his dedicated team of stewards before the ground can be opened.

The club has around 40 stewards, many of them long serving, and all have the National Vocational Qualification certificate which demonstrates their competency in various areas including ground evacuation, health and safety, and looking after customers. “Our stewards are usually the first port of call if supporters have any problems”, says Mr Moroney,”and they are trained to a high level to deal with any situation that arises and have a good rapport with members”.

There are daily briefings for the stewards who are under the control of four Supervisors and they are dispersed to all parts of the ground to carry out their duties, including the car park at Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School, a facility used by many members during the season.

Every type of game brings different challenges and the club and the school have an excellent working relationship. When the school fields cannot be used because of wet conditions, members are usually able to be parked in the main ground. It is possible to park up to 1,000 cars at the school and this is an invaluable facility, especially for one day games.

A service provided by the club is the famous 'buggy' which transports supporters from the school to the main ground and is piloted by Chris Kalmeier, who knows many of his customers by name. Chris is a man of many parts as he helps maintain the ground equipment during the winter months.

One of the biggest challenges facing Mo and his team is when fixtures are played at Tunbridge Wells and until recently at Beckenham. All the infrastructure has to be moved to the different location, the PA system, advertising boards, temporary stands erected, toilets put in place, marquees supervised, making sure the scoreboard is working, and many other things. A logistical challenge which is carried out with the minimum of fuss.

As supporters enjoy the last game of the season against newly promoted Lancashire, the stewards jobs are far from over. There are events taking place in the close season, including the popular fireworks display on Tuesday 5th November, which attracts thousands of people. And between 19th October and 3rd November they will be on duty when the Canterbury Festival erect a giant marquee, the Speigeltent, to stage Arts events. But don’t worry the 'tent'won't be on the playing area itself, but on the grass verge adjacent to the Les Ames stand.

So, it has been another job well done by the stewards and the volunteers who have given their time and services to make the watching experience at the ground a happy and safe event this season.

Peter Burrowes