One of the professional teams promised a huge sixteen inch shell for the finale but no-one believed it would really happen. That is until a large van arrived complete with a massive shell and even bigger mortar tube! Jaws dropped, eyes popped, palms sweated: The mother of all shells was here.

The huge tube is out of the van - but there us still some distance to carry it!

"Wow!" was a word that was used quite a lot when the van was unloaded of its massive arsenal. Imagine a B52 bomber but instead of being filled with hundreds of small munitions, it was loaded with one single nuke. That pretty much describes the van. I'm sure it raised up a few inches too when the shell was taken off!

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1: Here it is - a full sixteen inches! 2: I'm struggling even to lift it 3: A big shell needs a big tube 4: Hello? Anyone in there?

After a momentary pause to take it all in, there followed a scramble for cameras to make the most of the best photo opportunity of the afternoon. Shutters clicked and flashes temporarily blinded us while the shell changed hands for a photo call, not easy considering its weight.

With shell and tube left a suitably large distance up on a hill, the pro team return to get some tools

Now it was time to get the shell and tube a safe distance up the hill into the display area. The first leg was done by van, the second required some manual lifting as the team decided to situate it in isolation a considerable distance up a far hill.

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1: Gerry's well impressed with the size of this one 2: Thinking about how to secure it 3: Shell and tube 4: Ready for action!

After securing the tube and another photo call the shell was loaded (a major operation needing three people). A waterproof cover was placed on top and it was left alone. Waiting, quietly, for the moment of truth.

16 inch shell set up : Watch the 16 inch shell being set up. 28Mb Windows Media video file. Please "right click" and save to your PC before playing.

Looking lonely up on the hill, the pro team (left) and shell (right)

©2006 UK Firework Review