The event was a success with many of the talks full with visitors crowding the walls to hear the speakers despite the wet weather. The Tea Gardens sold teas and cake to keep spirits high as the rain fell.
The event was kindly opened by the Sheriff Cllr Lewis Norris. The Sheriff and his wife Anne extended their visit to take in a talk by Bob Le-Roi, A local Radio City DJ.
Bob Le-Roi started the event with a signing for his new book called "Making Waves". Bob told of his life on the forts during his career and got many visitors reminiscing the history of radio and the jingles were very popular. Bob attracted many djs and inspired some lively discussions.
BBC Breakfast TV interviewed Military Historian Mr Frank R Turner shortly before his talk so was able to get some additional publicity for the forts. Franks talks were widely attended, some from WWII, some locals and some from the construction side, attracting some thorough questioning at the end.
Project Redsand are a trust, set up as a charity to retain and restore the Red Sands forts. They were very pleased with the publicity and many locals and visitors took time to study the exhibition, use the interactive computer show. Many learnt much more about the forts and completed the "support" questionnaire. They aim to arrange for funding from a variety of sources to fund restoration of the towers.
People came from great distances, well outside the county to attend and buy the merchandise. Some items were sold out, so the event is definitely worth repeating.
The WWII vehicles were popular and inspired a number of questions, especially the jeep - originally built to last 90 days, still working today and road legal. The Dandy C (WWII Whitstable Search and Rescue boat) hopes to attend a future event.
Weather conditions reported on the day meant the Bayblast trips were unable to fulfil their ambitions for the weekend so they were cancelled late Saturday morning. This is only the second time Bayblast have needed to cancel an event and they worked hard to offer other dates by Sunday morning. Those who saw the forts were fascinated by their imposing size and varied history.
The WWII menu on the Sunday at St Mary's was another success, treats such as boiled beef and carrots and Corned beef hash proving tasty and popular.
Maunsell Sea Forts
Saturday 30 July and Sunday 31 July 2005
Maunsell Sea Forts Exhibition by Project Redsand
2pm to 5pm (Saturday) Whitstable Castle
10am to 4pm (Sunday) Whitstable Castle
History of the Forts, find out more about the history of the forts from historian Frank Turner.
3pm to 4pm(Saturday) Whitstable Castle
11:30am, 2:30 and 3:30pm (Sunday) Whitstable Castle
1960's Pirate Radio exhibition by Bob Le Roi.
2:30 and 3:30pm (Saturday) Whitstable Castle
11am and 2:30pm (Sunday) Heritage Cafe, St Mary's Parish Hall
Bob Le Roi will be signing copies of his book at 9:30am on Saturday at Bestbookdeals.com, Oxford Street. Further information at www.bobleroi.co.uk
Honoured guest: John Ross-Barnard, Senior announcer at Radio 390.
Boat trips to the Forts throughout the weekend.
Trips to the Sea Forts and Swale Barge Race throughout the day by Bayblast, departing Whitstable West Quay (next to the Lifeboat Station, unless otherwise directed at time of booking). The trips last approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Booking information for boat trips.
Saturday 7am to 9pm and Sunday 7:30am to 9pm. Pre booking is advised, via the VIC or Bayblast.
Price £22 per person.
Tel: 01227 373 372
Mob: 07800 745 493