HUNDREDS of families with disabled and deserving children headed to a naval base last night for a ‘relaxing’ evening featuring monster trucks and stunt bike shows.
HMS Sultan in Gosport opened up the venue for this weekend’s summer show to families from across the borough, welcoming more than 900 parents and children for an evening of free entertainment.
The evening is designed to offer the weekend’s show to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and children who may find large crowds distressing.
Samantha Robinson, from Gosport, said being able to experience the event with a smaller crowd made a ‘massive’ difference in allowing her three year-old son, who is on the autistic spectrum, to enjoy an evening without having a ‘meltdown.’
She said: ‘This is the first time we’ve been given an invitation to come to this event.
‘It’s good for us as parents, because everyone is in the same boat here.
‘And to see our son with such a big grin on his face is lovely - there’s such a nice feeling here.’
Children were able to enjoy sitting in various military helicopters, watch a stunt show from the under 18’s motorbike stunt team The Green Rockets, and experience being lowered in a winch from a suspended helicopter.
Commanding Officer of the base, Captain John Voyce, said: ‘We have about 900 people here instead of about 10,000 because it allows greater access to children who are intimidated by large crowds.
‘Its gives them a free evening out - with free ice cream.
‘I’ve enjoyed walking around and talking to the families in the relaxed atmosphere – they say they couldn’t do this normally.’
More than 200 volunteers and staff from HMS Sultan will be working across the weekend’s show, featuring a fairground and an area for the Bolddog Lings Freestyle Motorcross Display Team.
Returning this year is the STEM tent, which promotes science, technology, and maths to children through robotic displays.
Money from the event will also be put back into the surrounding community, with money being donated to several charities and organisations in the area.
Tickets cost £25 for families (two adults and two children), £10 for adults, £6 for OAPs or disabled and £5 for children. Under fives get in for free.