20 Dec That was 2017 – A year in review at Garmendale
2016 was a very big year for Garmendale as the business grew and developed our range of rides for theme parks and attractions. Well, we’re delighted to report in this 2017 review that this year has been even more successful and we have made further huge strides forward.
We started the year with a project for Chessington with a ride evacuation platform for the Vampire ride. It’s one of those simple looking jobs that makes a real difference to passenger safety should there be a need for an emergency evacuation.
In March we travelled to Dubai to visit the International Deal Show. We’re doing more and more big work in the Middle East and it allowed us to cement relationships with customers and suppliers in the region. We’ll be back again soon as it was a huge success for us. Zoe was part of the TEA team who were given a VIP tour around Global Village.
Some of our biggest news of the year came at the very end of March when Alton Towers announced the opening of the Go Jetters Vroomster Ride within CBeebies land. We had been working on this ride for a few months and had been documenting the build step by step, but were contractually obliged to keep it quiet until it was fully open.
As a ride, we are all completely delighted with the way it both looks and runs. It was the first ride built using our QuadStar Platform which is flexible enough to work with almost any brand or IP. For us, it doesn’t matter whether it’s an elephant, a car or even a boat on the end of the arm and whilst we use the line a lot, “If you can dream it, we can probably build it”, it’s completely valid here. More QuadStar based rides will be announced during 2018, so watch this space.
We completed quite a number of major ride refurbishments during 2017 with one of our favourites being the Pirate Ship from The Pleasure Beach, Skegness. The ride was originally built by Huss Rides and it’s one of ten or so that are still operating in Europe. The Pirate ship rides are often over 30 years old, so it’s completely understandable that they would need some ongoing maintenance.
In April, our Head of Marketing Johnny Lyle had ‘a bit of an incident’ and ended up in hospital with a broken back from a tumour on his spine. This explains the gap in blog posts for a few weeks as apparently, he couldn’t work in that condition. Lightweight! We’re pleased to report he’s back up and running (literally) and well on the road to recovery.
In May we attended the SATE Conference at Beaulieu. Garmendale sponsored the first night Mixer Event at the Master Builders Hotel. It was a lovely relaxed affair with a Fish and Chip Supper (Nothing too fancy in the engineering world) for all and a few drinks. It also coincided with the birthday of David Wilrich of the TEA, so we presented him with a cake.
Also in May, we announced a big order for shotgun gates for an Orlando Park. It was our biggest ever order for this type of gating system and firmly establishes us as the world leader in theme park entry gate systems.
In July, we went back to Blackpool to carry out some service work on the beautiful Blackpool Mirror Ball on the South Shore. For the stattos amongst you, the mirror ball is 6m in diameter and weighs 4.5 tons, spins at around one full rotation per minute and the outside of it is covered with 46,000 individual mirrors.
In September we completed the drive refurbishment work on the Venetian Gondola Ride at the Thursford Collection. It’s called a gondola because, according to the website “the richly carved cars are shaped like Venetian Gondolas, and it is a switchback in that, during its roundabout whirl, it climbs two hills and dips down into the following valleys.”
At the end of September we exhibited at EAS Berlin and it was our most successful show ever. We showed our full range of rides to the attractions industry for the first time and the interest was very strong (to say the least).
In October we sent the first of our new style technical and operator manuals to Dubai for the Don Ride at Bollywood for Dubai Parks and Resorts and the Hunger Games Ride at Motiongate. Both were 30 seater Immersive Tunnel Rides. The Motion Master 3DOF ride system is our own designed system that has models capable of carrying from 6-30 passengers. They are all electrically driven and proving to be beautifully reliable in the field, despite some challenging operational issues.
We always love November as it’s time for the annual IAAPA Trade Show in Orlando, Florida. The scale of the show is just enormous. It attracts 1,100 Exhibitors who are spread across 575,000 square feet of exhibition space and attracts over 30,000 visitors from over 120 countries. again, it was a very successful show for us and made all the nicer by the warm weather and bright blue skies.
And finally, we’re now proud Sponsors of Trowell FC Under 8’s football team. Our Managing Director, David Shelmerdine began his own sporting early years in and around the playing fields of Trowell too, on school and cub scout footballing duty and like the way our own business approaches apprenticeships, they focus completely on developing skills in young people. They are having a great season so far and we wish them all the best for the rest of the year.
This week, we met with the Themed Entertainment Team in London to visit the Crystal Maze and have a tour underground and a train ride at The Postal Museum as part of the end of year celebrations. It was a superb day and evening at two excellent attractions.
So we are delighted with the way the year has turned out and just as excited for the year ahead. We’re going into 2018 even more confidently than in any year before.
So, from all of the team at Garmendale, have a fabulous Christmas, a great break and we wish you all a prosperous new year.