Prime Minister David Cameron was among those who saluted the contribution of Showsec to the special London-based celebrations which marked the 70th Anniversary of VE Day.
The crowd management and event security specialist has received acclaim from several quarters for its part in the staging of events over a three-day period in the capital that remembered the occasions when the Second World War came to an end, and it was while members of the Showsec team were drawing a week of duties to a conclusion that they had an impromptu meeting with the Prime Minister at the iconic Horse Guards Parade.
“The Prime Minister was out jogging on the Tuesday evening,” explained operations executive Andrew Agnew. “We acknowledged him as he went past and he made a point of stopping to thank us and to tell us that we had all done a fantastic job on such a great occasion.”
Indeed, this is a view which has been echoed by other organisations with whom Showsec was proud to operate alongside for a celebration of such huge national significance.
The VE Day celebrations presented an opportunity to work again with the BBC’s Special Events team who broadcast live many of the special moments across the three days, and most notably A Party To Remember – the concert staged at Horse Guards Parade which featured performances by veteran rockers Status Quo and Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins.
Guy Freeman, editor of special events at BBC Events, said: “Thank you so much to Showsec for helping to create a very special show at incredibly short notice. I do mean it when I say that it’s a show of which we can all be incredibly proud in every respect. Every department excelled itself to turn what were just ideas on paper into an extraordinarily powerful, evocative and poignant tribute marking an extremely special generation.”
Chief Inspector Mark Chatfield from the Metropolitan Police Service has also stated that it had been a “pleasure” working with the Showsec team on the celebrations.
Main focus of the security operation
While a workforce of almost 700 Showsec staff was deployed throughout the week, the main focus of the whole operation was on events that took place in St James’s Park, including a vehicular display and the concert in Horse Guard’s Parade as well as a Veterans Parade.
Following a Service of Thanksgiving on the Sunday morning, that parade took both veterans and current servicemen from Westminster Abbey to St James’s Park where they were welcomed at a reception hosted by The Royal British Legion.
“Though this was essentially a big celebration, the high profile of those individuals in attendance combined with the circumstances in general at the time meant there was a heightened level of security throughout,” explained Dayo Adelugba, Showsec’s area manager for West London.
“As well as VE Day itself, we had recently had the arrival of a Royal baby and right on the eve of this event there had, of course, been the General Election as well. These were all important considerations in planning the security protocol with a high level of attention to detail necessary at every stage in the process.”
Adelugba added: “Given those circumstances there were many challenges in front of us but, due to a fantastic team effort, everything went very well and everyone seemed happy. The event gave us the opportunity to build a closer working relationship with some important key stakeholders in the capital.”