A Year of Lockdowns - December 2020 - textSectionComponent

Vaccines start to arrive just as new COVID-19 variants are identified. Our series of what Gallowglass Event Crew were doing (or trying to do) during the year of lockdowns continues.

In general

The UK becomes the first country to approve the new Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The BBC reports that the jab is "the fastest vaccine to go from concept to reality, taking only 10 months to follow the same steps that normally span 10 years.

The UK approves its second vaccine against COVID-19, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, with the first doses due to be given on 4 January 2021

The post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU is passed in the House of Commons by 521 votes to 73, a majority of 448.

Christmas is cancelled as cases rise.

Normally one of our quieter months but trading at 43% of normal gave us quite a morale boost. Positive thinking quickly evaporated as we moved into January and another nearly full lock down.

View from the top

Paul Grecian – Chairman of the Gallowglass Group

A month where we need to squeeze our trade into 17/18 days, December has diminished since the financial crash in 2008 when the bankers Christmas parties went to hell in a handcart after they lost all of our money. Nevertheless, we are trading fairly respectably through our one active sector. This month, the target of my ire is all of those wailing about their need to spend Christmas with Gran and Auntie Edna. For the sake of God look at the bigger picture. Surely you realise that any loosening of restrictions will mean that you might have a lovely day with Edna, turkey, all the trimmings, Her Majesty’s speech and a bit of a knees up but the old girl is not likely to be alive for Chinese New Year!

On the front line

Stephen Bridgewater – Senior Crew Chief – Wales and South West

As the number of shifts in early December begin to rise there is a sense of optimism in the crew that maybe we might be seeing a return to something that looks a little more normal. The last push in the Principality stadium happens as we take the flooring up from the pitch that hasn’t seen daylight for the best part of nine months. We are tentatively positive that we must be in a better place with no need of the nightingale hospital and our regions busiest event space returning to normal.

Scott Young – Senior Crew Chief – Scotland

I’m sure the cats are laughing at me and flipping me the finger every time they leave the flat.

Most of the month is spent trying to sort a mortgage for the new house

Dave Gregory – Senior Crew Chief – London

I was very lucky in December with the TV and Film industry powering on. Almost seems like there was no COVID for them but the 2 metre rules and face masks made it hard to work sometimes.

Coming to Xmas the whole country was waiting for Boris to tell us what was happening and then he cancels it. What a blow not much to look forward to and no New Year!

Mark Visser – Crew Chief – London

Normally one of the quiet months in the events calendar, but this year it was not too bad. Thank goodness for the film and TV industry.

A quiet Christmas at home with a Christmas morning Zoom church service, then lunch with just my wife and son. With the restrictions, our daughter could not join us.

A very quiet birthday compared to my 60th the previous December where the house was full of visitors all day, and a wonderful evening was enjoyed at a friends’ home seeing the New Year in.

Marwan Zeghbib – Crew Chief – London

The highlight of this month was for me to witness the full effect of Brexit, paired to that of the pandemic. Britain was to officially be out of the EU on December 31st, yet France, in view of a rising infection rate, decided to close its borders, leaving thousands of truck drivers stranded in Dover. I was sent down with a crew to Manston Airport, where the boys and I had a surreal feeling of being surrounded by every single truck we had loaded or unloaded throughout the course of our Gallowglass career! 3800 trucks with frustrated drivers awaiting to get tested in order to make it home for Christmas to their families in Central and Eastern Europe. Our job was to secure and soundproof power generators lighting up the airport runway, now used to accommodate those trucks, at night. Every time a TV helicopter hovered above the runway, the drivers blew their horns in unison as a sign of protest, and we were at the heart of it. That is what Brexit looked and sounded like then.

What happened in BD

Antony Cook – Head of Business Development

…by now I had taken off my headphones and enjoying a weekly natter with Alice & Marge, both of whom are against the COVID jab and here’s why: there is no vaccine but in truth people are being injected with nano technology in order to track & trace them, but more sinister is that it can be used to kill people when the population gets too big. Thin the herd. You couldn’t make this up!

With TV & film being the only area that has shown any signs of life during the pandemic we set about the derig of I’m a Celebrity which as you know usually takes place in the wilds of Australia but this year it’s being swopped out for the Welsh wilderness. The show being filmed this year in the ruins of Gwrych Castle in Wales, a 200-year-old medieval castle that some believe is “haunted”. Doesn’t scare us!

Although a derelict North Wales landmark care had to be taken so as not to ruin (excuse the pun) the fabric & integrity of the castle. The production site had to be taken down quicky & efficiently and I’m glad to say that the ITV team were able to return the site back early and start the festive break a week before scheduled.

The Make it Blue Auction was a roaring success raising money for several charities which included Samaritans & Stagehands and I managed to get bids on all 3 of the illustrations I had submitted (thanks for that, you know who you are).

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A Year of Lockdowns - December 2020 -Part 2 - textSectionComponent

Every Thursday night landmarks and iconic buildings across the UK are lighting blue in a massive gesture of thanks and support to all those working at the frontline to fight the pandemic.

​London art gallery W1 Curates, invited artists to express their respect and gratitude in their own unique and beautiful way.  Artworks selected will be displayed on Thursday nights across the 36 amazing screens of Flannels Oxford Street store.

Video link

Before we normally shut down the office for Christmas Conor & I open up the ‘BD Bar’ where along with beers & wine we have a selection of to make drinks, Gin & Tonic, Mojito, Cuba Libre & Old Fashioned. As we weren’t in the office the wife & I had to work our way through it all which let me tell you it wasn’t easy, but we do love a challenge (hic)!

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What happened in HR

Chris Parry-Jones – Director of Human Resources

Furlough extended until April at 80% - Phew!  There are some relieved people here.  Flexi furlough certainly works better as when work does come in all our crew are ready to go. Christmas is just around the corner but it certainly feels strange – no parties, no get togethers and no shopping in London for me!!  Nevertheless, it is going to be good to be at home, turn off the computer and enjoy the Christmas tree in front of a log fire with a glass (or two) of something.  New Year’s Eve was strange as I actually said Happy New Year to my son at just gone midnight – that has not happened for a long while!

What happened in IT

Darren Thorley – Head of IT

It feels a bit weird in the world of Gallowglass IT. Traditionally December would be one of my busiest months where I take advantage of the Christmas break to upgrade and update systems. This year, it looks like I get to put my feet up.

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Conor Hourihan

Business Development Manager, Gallowglass Group Posted on 04 May 2021
About the author
A Music Production graduate, Conor has spent the last 12 years in customer service roles. Joining Gallowglass initially as a Crewman, his talent for gaining clients' trust and forming lasting relationships, made him a shoo-in for our business development and marketing team. When he's not liaising with clients, Conor is our visuals expert - overseeing video content and imagery for our website, app and new vehicle and uniform branding.
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