Did you miss us in 2007? Don’t make the same mistake in 2008!

2007 was a landmark year for Irvin Leisure, and you would have had the chance to read all about this on our Webnews pages. However with a New Year starting we have done some tidying up, and so have removed a number of those items from the site to allow you to look at our latest activities. However here is a brief summary of some of the key times during the year that you may have missed. Shame on you!

The year for Irvin Leisure started with the sad loss of George Irvin snr at the end of January. George had been the driving force behind the development of Irvin Leisure in the 1970s and whilst he was semi retired, due to heath reasons, his presence was always felt on the fairgrounds whenever the company was open as he would examine every aspect of the layout and operation and make critical, but practical, suggestions as to how it could be improved. Interestingly, George was way ahead of his time in that he was a great believer in recycling and totally opposed to waste, so would urge his sons to look at repairing rather than scrapping anything that they might have thought was at the end of its useful life cycle. He is still and always will be greatly missed by his family and his many friends.

However George would have been the first to insist that the company must progress, and would have been delighted with the announcement in March of 2007 that Irvin Leisure will be the first Carbon Neutral Fairground in Britain. You can certainly read much more about this on our site.

We started 2007 in Hyde Park at the end of the fabulous London’s Fair with its special low prices, charity launch and invitations to groups from each and every borough to attend for a free day out, courtesy of George Irvin. London’s Fair ended 2007 for the company in Barham Park in Wembley where this charity link continues, whilst another event has been placed in Hyde Park without these community commitments, but best not to draw attention to this as people get sensitive about these things!

Other superb public festivals in which we participated included the Brooklands Centenary Event, where we provided an Edwardian Fair to celebrate the anniversary of this historic racetrack and airport, and I urge you to visit the Museum there as it is amazing. It was at Brooklands that Ian Fleming got the inspiration for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, if not for James Bond! So we can blame Brooklands in part for Dick Van Dyke. Apart from that it is a great place to see.

One event in which we love to participate is the wonderfully named “Bonkersfest”, last year in Camberwell. This is a festival to celebrate those who would be classified as “not all the ticket” and recognises their diversity and imagination. Jo Brand opened the festival, and we were delighted to be there. For 2008 the event may be staged in Geraldine Mary Handsworth Park in Southwark, next to the War Museum, which you may not be aware is the sight of Bedlam, or properly Bethlehem Hospital, the asylum where you could pay in Victorian times to see the “Crazy People” and be entertained. Read some of the popular press nowdays and you would wonder just how far we have, or have not, progressed. We love this festival and we love those who organise it. Watch out for the 2008 date and come along and be astonished as well as richly entertained in a most positive and thought provoking way.

We also attended and enjoyed the Southwark Festivals in August where over 200,000 came along over the two days to Burgess Park in the heart of Peckham. The first day was Vibrations, which is a Music Event for Afro Caribbean themed activities. The second is the biggest miss spelt festival in London, Carnaval Del Pueblo, a Latin American Fiesta including a Carnival Parade and scantily dressed dancers (see photo above as if you did not already), with a procession from Elephant and Castle down the Walworth Road to Burgess Park, not quite as glamorous as Rio and the Sugar Loaf Mountain, but still great fun. Put this date in your diary for 2008. Southwark Council deserves the highest credit possible for their imaginative hosting of this festival over the years and for their hard work to ensure that this is a great weekend, enjoyed by all.

We spent much of July and August providing rides for music festivals, in Victoria Park in the heart of the East End, for the concerts in Reading and Cardiff, plus Wellington Park and many more. These were a great success and we were delighted to keep both of our website viewers up to date with all the news on those.

Towards the end of the year we attended Fireworks and Diwali Festivals and numerous corporate functions, plus raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity, but above all we have provided pleasure and entertainment for people from all around the country at private events and public festivals.

Our film shoot work has grown considerably over the past year, and we have featured in a major Channel Four Drama on the controversial subject of the struggle of a Paedophile to control his appalling instincts, a programme in which we were proud to participate and which deserved the awards it won for its brave confrontation of a major issue. On the lighter side we worked on a Mitchell and Webb Experience series and on other comedy programmes for BBC and Independent TV. We always attempt to work with the creative teams to ensure that their use of the fairground is appropriate and imaginative.

So 2007 was a memorable year, for sad reasons at the start but for happier reasons thereafter, and we have now ended in one of our favourite venues, Barham Park in Wembley, for the Christmas and New Year period to see in 2008 and a new era. Sometimes these news pages have not been appreciated by both the people who read them, but they are and remain very much the words of the author and not those of Irvin Leisure, so Happy New Year to you both and come and visit Irvin Leisure at their next venue.