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Britain’s Strongest Removalist Contest launched at The Movers & Storers Show

Aug 12, 2016
This is a story about a great idea that very nearly didn’t happen. About modern business, red tape and financial challenges. And about how if a group of people really, really want to make something happen, they probably can, by Charlotte Parslow of Animo Events, organisers of The Movers & Storers Show.

For two years now, Britannia Reeves of Petersfield have very kindly supported The Movers & Storers Show by running the very popular Packer of the Year Competition for us. It’s our favourite show feature – a true test of one of the key skills needed for an efficient removals operation - and as such is always hotly contested and draws a sizeable crowd. The competition is run on one day of the show, so the space it takes up is vacant on the other day.   

When we decided to move the show from Silverstone to Bruntingthorpe this year, we also took the decision to put the Competition Zone in the heart of the floor plan. It’s a fantastic change that will create more spectators and more buzz in the hall, but we didn’t want to end up with a big empty space in the middle of the show on day two.   

So we sat down with Britannia Reeves and started kicking around the idea of a second competition. We needed something visual, something that would test some of the key skills needed in the removals game, and something that could potentially get the industry some positive press in the wider media. But what are the key skills needed in this industry? Accurate and careful driving and diplomacy with stressed customers were never going to turn into spectator sports. However, we all agreed that strength was a basic attribute of a good removalist. Stamina too, and safe manual handling skills. And so, with a glint in his eye, Andy Shotbolt suggested that we start a ‘Britain’s Strongest Removalist’ contest.   

We got excited because it would mean lots of new toys to play with, and the prospect of a truck pull would be spectacular. We got excited because it could allow us to get some brilliant press coverage for the show and the industry. When we found out that Steve Jordan’s daughter, Faye, is one of the strongest women in Britain and not only competes but organises strongman and strongwoman contests, we got even more excited!    

However, it quickly became clear that one of the main stumbling blocks to the whole plan was going to be managing the risks. We had to make sure that everyone involved was operating safely, and that the whole competition was meticulously planned and properly insured. We called our pals at Pound Gates, who started looking for insurance quotes for us. It took rather a lot longer than expected. In reality, nobody wanted to touch it. The problem was that most of our competitors weren’t professional strong men or even enthusiastic amateurs – they were normal working people who happened to use their muscles as part of their day jobs.   

It looked pretty touch and go for a while. Britannia Reeves had sorted the equipment, we were mid-conversation with Faye Jordan, but still no word from Pound Gates. And then we got an insurance quote. We would have been celebrating, but for the fact that the quote was eye-wateringly, jaw-droppingly huge.  

Much soul searching and brain storming followed. We really wanted to run this competition, but we also had a business to run, and couldn’t afford to spend thousands of pounds on a single feature out of the kindness of our hearts. We didn’t want to charge a huge entry fee, and we didn’t want to put stand prices up.   

Salvation came in the form of Britannia Movers International. MD Mark Tresler had heard about the competition, agreed that it would be great PR for the industry, and offered to help us meet the costs. So now we’re back to work, talking to Faye and Andy, refining the details, completing the risk assessments and designing the application form. It’s all getting real, and thanks to Britannia, we’re excited again.   

This process has reinforced our belief that there are a lot of people in this industry who truly, genuinely love it, and are prepared to contribute in every sense of the word towards the greater good. So we’re now going to work hard to make this happen, to make it fun, and to make it beneficial for the removals industry. Please support the show by coming along on 1st and 2nd November, and if you have any contenders in your team, e-mail us for an application form:

Photos:  Andy Shotbolt puts his back into the truck pull; Faye Jordan, member of the Great Britain powerlifting team and current British bench-press record holder, will supervise the competition (pictured taking part in the Great Britain Powerlifting Championships in 2015); Matt Ede demonstrates the lifting equipment.

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