Hertfordshire villagers disappointed as Godiva Awakes motors through too quickly
PUBLISHED: 12:18 27 August 2012
HERTFORDSHIRE villagers have let their fury be known after the Godiva Awakes procession made a flying visit past their homes.
Residents of both Cuffley and Goffs Oak lined the streets waiting for the display, which coincided with the London 2012 Olympic Games, only to be disappointed when it passed them on a lorry rather than being powered by cyclists at a much slower pace.
The reason was put down to safety issues, but amazingly the organisers of Godiva Awakes blamed Hertfordshire police – and the police blamed the organisers.
A post from the organisers on the official Godiva Awakes Facebook page said: “Unfortunately we will not be using our cycles from Hatfield House. Herts Police have compromised our safety plan – sorry to those waiting.”
This led to a string of comments from disappointed onlookers, who had expected to see the five-tonne sculpture being cycled through Cuffley and Goffs Oak.
Cheryl Dawe replied: “Wish you’d announced this bit earlier. Would have watched from further down the road. People in Goffs Oak are very disappointed at what they saw. Too late now.”
Godiva Awakes replied: “Hi Cheryl, we only knew ourselves on the day and this was totally out of our control, really sorry.”
Cheryl Dawe replied: “We walked down to Broxbourne FC and saw it as it was meant to be. Well done everyone and shame on you Herts Police.”
Another angered onlooker, Sally Crowley, posted on the Facebook wall: “A big disappointment, the lorry speed through Goffs Oak was like a bat out of hell.”
Martha Coleman wrote: “I had travelled over from Enfield to my aunt’s house in Goffs Oak.
“I’d been excited to see Godiva for weeks but was left disappointment. Herts Police excuse on their website was disgraceful – putting the blame on you guys.”
A statement on the Hertfordshire Police website did just that.
It read: “Hertfordshire Constabulary have been liaising for some months with the organisers of the Godiva Awakes procession.
“Traffic management officers and the organisers have been in contact regarding the route and how to cause the least disruption to other road users.
“It is essential that public safety and the safety of those taking part in the procession is paramount in the forward planning of such an event.
“The decision to not to use cyclists for the most recent leg of the journey through Herts is one that has been taken by the organisers – and not by Hertfordshire Constabulary.”
Kathi Leahy, from Imagineer Productions, who organised Godiva Awakes, later posted a message on the Facebook page that said: “So sorry for all those who waited, unfortunately Herts police were not helpful and made our job very difficult despite the fact that we had made it safely and well from Coventry to Hatfield.
“Thank you for all the amazing support – we are as disappointed as all of you who waited.
“This is an amazing Olympian journey by our team of cyclists…what a shame Herts police were not as supportive as all the other police authorities that have supported us along the route!
“So a few cars would have been delayed? Would that have been so terrible?”
* Click on the photo galleries above right to see pictures of Godiva Awakes in Hatfield.
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