As many as 5,700 visitors turned out for Beaulieu’s The 999 Show to see action-packed demonstrations including a kidnap attempt featuring Southampton Football Club legend Francis Benali and a CSI Beaulieu murder mystery at Palace House.
Double-time marching military band performances by the Rifles Band Winchester and the rescue of a casualty from the scene of a crash in an extrication display were also highlights at the Bank Holiday Monday show which was held to celebrate the work of the emergency services.
The event in the grounds of the National Motor Museum marked the start of Mary Montagu-Scott’s year in office as the new High Sheriff of Hampshire and saw police, fire and rescue, ambulance, judiciary, coastguard, National Health Service (NHS) and the prison and probation services talking to show-goers about their vital work.
The Specialist Operations Regiment, Royal Military Police set their bodyguards the task of protecting Franny Benali from the unpredictable Red Man in a demonstration kidnap attempt. They also shared forensic investigative tips at CSI Beaulieu, which was a huge hit with children and their families as they followed the murder mystery trail around the Montagu family home. Fourteen-year-old Elliot Goddard, from Fareham, correctly identified the murderer as the house guest Rosemary and the weapon as the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot and won a Fortnum & Mason hamper and Beaulieu teddy bear as his prize.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service showed the impressive skills of its investigation dogs team, a pony and her foal could be seen in the New Forest Agisters’ pound, Pensions4 Paws brought police puppies and retired German Shepherds and patrolling the show was a much-admired police horse which was brought by the Special Constables.
The Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers Parachute Display Team showed visitors their skydiving techniques and colourful parachutes from the ground, as low-level cloud meant they were unable to fly into the show.
Mary’s everyday transport – an unremarkable Skoda Yeti – was transformed into a machine fit for law enforcement with a new Sheriff livery. This dramatic metamorphosis included the traditional High Sheriff coat of arms on the bonnet.
Stretching across the showground was an amazing line-up of emergency services vehicles of the past and present, from modern-day ambulances and police cars, to preserved fire engines, including a 1950s Bedford Green Goddess. The Police Car UK club stand featured historic police cars including a 1959 MGA Roadster, 1969 Lotus Cortina and 1966 Volvo 221 Estate, while the Blue Light Vehicle Preservation Group showcased a selection of more modern retired police vehicles.
Equally eye-catching were two World War II themed trailers, which recreated a 1940s police station and Air Raid Precautions mobile unit which had been built using a vintage caravan. Showing how it feels to be locked inside a prison cell was the groundbreaking Prison Me! No Way! mobile prison cell van, raising awareness for young people about the causes, consequences and penalties of crime.
At the show, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance patron Lady Montagu and Beaulieu Estate Head Gamekeeper Peter Stagg also presented a cheque for £1,100 to HIOWAA which was raised by donations from clients over the last shooting season.