In 2000 the annual Bonfire at Hankelow was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, and an effort to move it to a new venue at Audlem Cricket Club failed due to the bad access for emergency vehicles.
Ken Jones and I felt that to lose the Annual Bonfire would be a shame for the village and the 1,500 families who attended every year. It was mentioned in the bar of the Lord Combermere one night, about three weeks prior to Guy Fawkes night and the then Landlord Tony Hatton said that he would put up £1,000 for fireworks if we would run the event. Any money we made over £1,000 we could keep and he would take his loan back.
Ken and I ran the event on the playing field with a large bonfire and an excellent firework display. The next morning, after we had cleared up the mess, we went to see Tony Hatton, to see if we had made a loss or a profit only to be given £1,200 – the profit from the event.
Ken and I didn't know what to do with the money so we went to see Andrew Smith at the Post Office to ask his advice. He opened an account for us and we re-cycled the money into deserving causes in the village, including the cricket club who were the catalyst for the idea.
We realised that there was a need to raise monies for projects in the village. A major one was the Public Hall which needed funds desperately. But we needed to raise larger sums, so I suggested that we relay the last night of the Proms on a very large screen on the playing field and every one could party and join in the singing as they do in Hyde Park and other cities in the UK.
Having been involved in the organisation of Formula 1 motor sport for many years, I spoke to the company who supply the large TV screens at sports events etc. They said they could do it but we needed permission from the BBC to relay the programme. I wrote to the then Director General Greg Dyke but it was not possible, so we decided to run our own Proms on the Park.
ASET, Audlem Special Events Team was conceived.
Eight like-minded people got together and decided to put on our own Proms, and agreed that if we were unable to cover our costs we would cover the shortfall ourselves. The event was a great success, and ASET are now into organising our sixth Proms on the Park, our fifth year of the Transport Festival, and our sixth annual Bonfire event. Over the last five years we have donated £26,000 to good causes in the village. Bearing in mind that we don't seek sponsorship from any business in the village, all our sponsorship comes from outside thereby bringing money into the village.
The ASET team is Des Guerin, Ken Jones, Dave Joynson, Paddy Kenshole, John Langston, Nigel Mottershead, Andrew Smith and Ralph Warburton.
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