The morning after the night before and a crack team of UKFR members emerged from warm rooms or cold tents (depending on which straw you drew) bleary-eyed but eager to get their hands on the pyro. A full day of lifting, staking, waterproofing, eating and merriment followed. It's a tough job but someone's got to do it!

A display this size and in a huge field like this needs the right tools: All-terrain ride-on mower, trailer to carry
the pyro, and a crack team of enthusiastic helpers!

The day started misty but fairly calm and after a bite to eat I took a little walk around the main site, a huge field behind another huge field, a huge distance from the spectator area. Talk about an ideal venue, and we needed the space with both cat 3 and cat 4 on show that night. Present that morning where the UKFR die-hards but several pro crews were due to arrive later, donating their time, expertise and pyro towards the evening's entertainment.

Best of all that morning: I felt great - I didn't have to share a room the previous night with legendary snorer Pete B. I learnt that lesson in Dorset Episode I where in the end I had to sleep on Gerry's landing floor to get away from the noise. So, this time I insisted Pete B slept a good 100m away, and outside, and in a tent. I had the best night's sleep in months.

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1: A misty, damp morning and the view towards the church 2: A garage full of pyro ready for sorting 3: Message In The Wind, and we're not talking about the aftermath of Stu's curry 4: Stu and Keith start waterproofing items 5: Rocket racks (upside down) 6: The on-site pro crews fused some interesting mine combinations

After taking some film of the firing area I went back to the main house where a good deal of activity was already in progress. The long distance between the house and firing area meant a ride-on mower with trailer was used to cart the pyro and it took several trips too. Box after box was piled up on the trailer and when the garage was cleared it was soon filled again with set-pieces, fans and other items under construction. The sounds of boxes being loaded was soon replaced with bangs from hammers and the whirring of cordless drills. Er, and some swearing too, when the hammers missed and the drills slipped!

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1: Two Towers of Power 2: Trailer loaded with pyro (one of many trips) 3: Rocket racks ready for transport 4: More gear ready to be taken to the distant firing site 5: Various candles 6: Tim assembles some candle fans

The items under construction showed that this meeting was far removed from the first that Gerry hosted. In "those days" it was a cat 3, amateur only event. Here, with so many professional firers and teams on hand, the day took a new and exciting direction. Without the constraints of just cat 3, we were going to have fun - and all legal and done under the strictest of safety.

Gerry with one of the finished candle sequences prepared by the visiting pro crews, here displayed with the
help of Nick (left) and Peter (right)

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1: Wheels in the foreground, assorted frames at the back 2: Completed candle fan 3: Gerry's A-Team surveys part of the pyro stash 4: We might need a few hours of setting up time here! 5: More pyro 6: And more...

With the main stash now up on the hill, Gerry and Keith started the laborious task of staking out. The uneven field plus the sheer power of the pyro meant that every single item needed securing - that's a LOT of stakes and a lot of banging and strapping.

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1: Gerry and Keith setting up 2: More setting up 3: Some heavy duty pyro - and that's just the cat 3! 4: Battle Of The Alamo 5: Multiple items staked out 6: Rocket tubes looking skyward

Rockets were to be launched from tubes and as you can see below even this was done in style.

Fully loaded and ready for action

As the day wore on, more and more UKFR members arrived, along with further pro crews each with their own display or feature. You can see their activities in more detail in the next sections.

The pile of pyro continued to swell during the day as many members also brought some extra items to add to the stash.

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1: Late afternoon view of the firing site - still loads to do 2: Ball rocket salvo (don't try angles like this unless you have a VERY BIG field like we did!) 3: Another rocket salvo 4: Zedsquared makes some checks to a firing system 5: Dusk and fine weather

Well done to everyone involved in the setting up including the behind-the-scenes people who were in charge of catering and waterproofing, essential jobs that go mostly unseen. Check out the photos above to see the sheer amount of fireworks and the video below to get a flavour of the day.

Setting Up : Assorted video of general setting up. 32Mb Windows Media video file. Please "right click" and save to your PC before playing.

Long shadows and approaching dusk, but still a lot of setting up to do

©2006 UK Firework Review