QMJ’s Hillhead team was welcomed to the Derbyshire Branch, 16 September 2015, treating those attending to a behind the scenes look at the world's largest quarrying show, held at Hillhead Quarry in Buxton.
Richard Bradbury, Show Director, introduced the Operations team and emphasized how the show’s success was very much the sum of its individual parts, with around 60 years of Hillhead experience between the four of them.
Penny Lewin, Operations Manager, started the presentation by providing a history of the show, which began at Jackdaw Crag Quarry, Tadcaster in 1982 and then moved to Hillhead in 1983. The move was a success, exhibitors doubled to 170 and visitors trebled to 3000! As popularity increased, site developments such as face stabilisation, toilet improvements, potable water and the extension of the showground took place to keep up with the challenges of space and welfare. The original idea for the show came from Jack Berridge, who retired at the last show, but has been maintained as a consultant for 2016. The fact it continues to flourish 35 years after its birth is a testament to Jack’s vision for the event.
Richard Bradbury continued by illustrating how Hillhead has grown, with a record of 19,406 visitors in 2005 and representation from 75 countries equating to 1 in 10 visitors, proving that Hillhead is an established international event. He also provided a flavour of the marketing plan and the increasing importance of social media. Next year, fibre optics will be installed which will remove the need for satellites and reduce latency issues. This will provide visitors with high speed streaming options to make the most of the now rapidly growing role of social media. Richard concluded with an overview of the highly developed SHE document covering the show, including the implication of exhibitions now falling under the scope of the 2015 CDM regulations.
Russell Mason, Safety Compliance Manager, then discussed his role involving the collection of over 300 risk assessments from exhibitors. This process starts almost 6 months out, with each one needing to fulfil a range of criteria to be deemed fit for purpose, before the exhibitor is granted access to the site.
36 separate contractors also work at Hillhead, from security and cranes to the less obvious water testing and flagpole hole drilling. Harvey Sugden, Showground Event Manager, discussed the challenges the team face in coordinating all of these contractors including ensuring that they provide appropriate safety documentation, competent staff, inductions, appropriate PPE and adequate supervision for their staff.
Penny returned to share some interesting trivia from the entire 34-year history of the show she has been a part off. 2016 will be her last exhibition before retirement and we all wish her a successful last Show.
Looking ahead to 2016, Richard acknowledged and thanked the Derbyshire branch for the quarrying support they gave to the event with specific reference to John McGough (Quarry Manager), Kim Shilcock (Assistant Quarry Manager), Andy Copley (Section Supervisor - Crusher Alley) and Neil Plant (Section Supervisor – Quarry Face).
It was very interesting to see how things have changed over the years and how much work was required to successfully run such an event.
The next Hillhead exhibition will be taking place 28-30 June 2016.