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The Dilemma of helping out at fetes shows etc.

The recent bouncy castle incident bought back some sad memories for me.

When my daughter was 2 or 3 she attended a local pre-school nursery where a few of the local mums helped out.

A child some how got out of the hall where the nursery was held, wandered in to the garden next door and drowned in a garden pond.

Myself and my wife couldn’t be contacted at the time so my father in law was called to collect my daughter, when he got there they momentarily couldn’t find my daughter as she thought it was a game of hide and seek.

Hearing all this later was really sickening, I went to work the next day but when it came on the radio I just had to go home and see my daughter.

Unfortunately, one family didn’t have that option.

A sad, sad time and one I will never forget.

The thing about this though was the repercussions afterwards, bearing in mind this was just a tiny village, where the adults looking after the children were in effect just local mothers helping out.

It may not compare to the parents of the child, but the helpers suffered too and not only that, there was a 3 and a half year gap between the incident and an inquest ruling (neglect) followed by possible legal claims from the parents.

Jump forward a few years and I was on the board of a local playground committee and a discussion arose about a new piece of playground equipment, a roundabout.

The roundabout had been installed for a week but the children were moaning because a restrictor on it made it too slow.

The discussion was along the lines of, just get someone to take the restrictor off, problem solved.

It was then that my mind went back to the incident, the tragic accident, the mothers just helping out, and how it had also ruined their lives.

I raised my concerns, spoke about the memory of my daughter being there and how it could so easily have been her, and resigned from the committee.

Off course I was seen as a killjoy for not wanting to let the kids have fun on an unrestricted roundabout but so be it I thought and to this day don’t know if the restrictor was removed or not.

I was also a regular helper at the local flower show summer fete.

I used to help out on what was called the jousting chair, a home made contraption, horse on wheels going down a makeshift track, kid with a jousting rod trying to collect rings as they go down.

Great fun, but an accident waiting to happen if not monitored properly.

Now here lies the problem, do you volunteer to help at events like this so that they can go on, or do you consider the consequences if an accident does happen?

I decided I didn’t want to be up for manslaughter if a kiddie fell off the jousting chair, made my excuses and have not helped since.

Again, I’m a killjoy and are too lazy to help out, I’ll tell you something though I would rather that than be the 2 people up for manslaughter because a bouncy castle had a freak accident and blew away.

Let’s face it, anyone who has helped out at events knows there is know real risk assessment when you set up those stalls, canopies, coconut shy’s, rides, events, etc.

There by the grace of God go you, if you’re the one who is just that unlucky person manning the stall when the tragedy happens, you become the outcast, the mindless moron, the murderer.

Next time you are helping out and you notice the barriers aren’t where the small print in the instructions say they should be, the correct weights aren’t in place, you only have 4 pegs holding down the gazebo when their should be 8, the straw bales behind the shy are a bit low, there are people walking behind the dartboard you are monitoring, etc., etc. just remember it is you up for manslaughter if anything goes wrong, the organisers will soon distance themselves from you.

Sad, I know.
The end of village fetes if all have that mentality, I know.

But having experienced it and seeing the effects I’ll just carry on being that killjoy party pooper who is too lazy to help – unfortunately.

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