Jolly Good Productions are based in Richmond, North Yorkshire which is only three miles from Catterick Garrison, now the largest military base in the UK. Although we are literally on the “door step” we don’t do a huge amount of work in the Garrison. Most of the work we do involves travelling to other areas.
Yesterday Hazel was booked to provide children’s entertainment for the families of one of the Regiment’s based in the camp. They wanted a children’s entertainer for a couple of hours and asked her to run her “jolly good fun” party. As I was free I offered to accompany her to assist.
As we entered the camp I was amazed at how much new build there had been. The barracks we went into had a lot of new accommodation blocks and there were many other new buildings for headquarters, stores, equipment and training. We were both quite impressed. Having signed in we were directed to a very large modern building in the centre of the complex. Our guide explained that this is where the soldiers come for their meals. It was however a far cry from the old fashioned cookhouses. It was more like a Marks and Spencer’s Cafeteria. Quite posh I thought. The whole place was light and airy, there were comfortable seating areas, games areas with pool tables, electronic games, a mini supermarket, a barbers shop etc etc. We were allocated a large carpeted area which had plenty of tables and chairs next to it for parents to be able to sit and watch the fun ( in fact many joined in ).
We were set up in good time and the children soon found us. Inevitable there was a wide age range going from preschoolers up to ten or eleven years old. Hazel is a very experienced children’s entertainer and has a great way with kids. Dealing with large numbers and mixed ages requires skill. The children are usually excited and the trick is to keep the fun going whilst also maintaining control. If there is a knack in this then Hazel certainly has it.
I always enjoy watching Hazel running a kid’s disco because of the way she leads the dancing. Hazel is also a qualified and very experienced dance teacher and so she is always at the front doing all the actions to the party dances ( and she knows them all ) so the children all copy her moves. I’ve never seen another DJ who is able to do this. Most just put the music on and let the kid’s get on with it.
It had been a wonderful afternoon with lots of variety, lots of fun and lots of happy children.
These are difficult times and it’s nice to know that the army are doing a good job looking after the families of service personnel. We are looking forward to our next visit to the Garrison.