A Winter’s Tale from a Warwickshire Exhibition Manager

This is a brief summary of how we arrived at the decision to cancel our Exhibition this year on Thursday 1st March 2018.

Weather forecasts early in the week suggested that the south midlands would miss the worst of the snow and we were confident that the show would be able to go ahead. We carefully monitored the local forecasts throughout Thursday and they changed frequently. A Weather Watch bulletin was posted on our website.

We started to collect information from exhibitors’ and traders about journey prospects. Very rapidly it was obvious that those travelling from the south and west were unlikely to be able to make the trip safely with red and amber alerts posted for that area. Heavy snow was now forecast to fall in south Warwickshire throughout the day on Friday. Withdrawals started to come in and were immediately posted on the web site.

It starting snowing heavily approximately 15:30 Thursday afternoon. Road conditions deteriorated rapidly. We started to receive phone calls and more withdrawals. At about 18:00 the amber alert area extended north to include the south and west midlands and the red zone moved in our direction. A conference call was booked with the key exhibition organisers for 19:30. Heavy snow continued, the list of withdrawals was also growing. The consensus view of exhibition team was that if would be unsafe to continue, but the insurance cover should be checked and senior Board members involved in the final decision. A further conference call involving Board members was booked for 20:30. The Exhibition Manager received notification at 20:15 from the College Estates team that the site would be closed on Friday which confirmed that the decision, already taken to cancel the show. was the right one. The 20:30 conference call was now just a formality to advise the Society Management Board.

The website was immediately updated, e-mail cancellation notices were sent out by 21:45, phone calls were made and text messages sent to ensure all exhibitors were aware of the situation 22:45.

While all of the above was going on members trying to get to the club on Thursday evening failed and those at the club preparing Kimble for transport the following morning reported severe difficulties with their journeys home. On Friday morning we received a report of 6 foot deep snow drifts blocking all roads around the club. The decision taken purely on safety grounds to cancel the exhibition was clearly the right one.

It's never easy to take such a decision and the safety of all involved over-rules everything else, after all it's only a model railway exhibition! We want to be able to welcome everybody again in 2019.