£55,620 raised for selected charities in 2016.

The 2016 On Your Marks, the annual charity event at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground and Airfield established by two Asda employees and supported by the supermarket chain, was held on Saturday 6th August. Organisers John Forde and Chris Goodwin confidently expected the event – the 15th they have put on – would take the total raised for cancer charities towards £500,000 and they were proven correct with a fantastic £55,620 raised at the event, taking the total raised to date to £484,313. But it will also be tinged with sadness for the duo as they have decided it will be their last.

“Chris and I are going to step back after this year’s show,” says John. “We have seen the show grow and grow and raise an incredible amount of money for cancer charities. But I am 64 next year and getting a bit long in the tooth. And Chris wants to concentrate on his family a lot more… So it is with great regret this was the last show that we, as a team, would organise On Your Marks. For this reason Asda will not be a main sponsor of next year’s show as they have no one to step into our shoes.

“The good news is that C Walton Ltd, who own Bruntingthorpe, are going to take over and run it next year. It will still be a charity day and it will still be called On Your Marks. The basic chemistry of the day will not change. The car clubs, the 4x4s, the trucks, the stunt driving and all that has become part of On Your Marks will still be at the show.

David Walton, Bruntingthorpe’s Managing Director, says it was not a difficult decision to put On Your Marks into the proving ground’s 2017 diary. “The event has become part of our DNA. It is a truly remarkable demonstration of people and organisations coming together to raise money for one of the most deserving charities. There are few, if any, of us who can say that they, or their family, has not been touched by cancer. And while it remains a devastating disease, much progress has been made in research into treatment and the care of patients thanks to events such as On Your Marks.”

In a tribute to the initiative and inspiration of John Forde and Chris Goodwin, Mr Walton said they had planted a small seed that had grown into a large and bountiful event. “Who wouldn’t want to continue their sterling work over the past 15 years. It was a privilege for ourselves at Bruntingthorpe to work with John and Chris to ensure that their swan-song event was memorable for all the right reasons for concerned.”

On Your Marks was born 15 years ago when Mark Hickingbottom, a work colleague of John and Chris at Asda, was dying of lymphatic cancer after serving his country in the first Gulf War. John and Chris approached David Walton and asked if they could have a day with some trucks and a few cars on the proving ground to raise some money for Mark’s care. David said yes and the day went well, raising £7,500.

Sadly, Mark died a week before the event. But it still went ahead and all those involved suggested it became an annual fun day for Asda personnel and invited guests to support cancer charities. Mark’s family readily agreed to it being called On Your Marks. Since that first event more than £480,000 has now been raised, not including what the charities themselves have made on the days.

As an indication of how On Your Marks has grown, organisers put up 350 metres of plastic safety fencing at the first event. For this year they ordered 6.1kms (3.75 miles) of steel safety fencing. And the programme of events and attractions is bigger than ever.