10 Years On… B4RN’s ‘Day of the Spades’
March 31st, 2022
Author: Mark Gray
Posted In: Latest news
Ten years ago more than 100 people made broadband history, coming together to start the B4RN network build in a field near Jubilee Tower at Quernmore.
‘The Day of the Spades’ happened on 31st March 2012.
It was officially “Build Day 1”, with volunteeers, residents and investors from near and far picking up their tools to bring gigabit full fibre broadband to the Lune Valley (and beyond!).
Then Mayor of Lancaster, Paul Woodruff, was first to put a spade in the ground while then local MP Eric Ollerenshaw was in attendance too.
At the time, now-retired B4RN CEO, Barry Forde, said: “It’s been an emotional day. This has been a long time in planning, and it’s fantastic finally to see the day arrive, especially as so many have tried to tell us this couldn’t be done. People here know the big telecoms companies will never get round to providing them with decent internet connectivity, and it’s in the spirit of how people do things around here that they’ve just got on and done it themselves.”
Karen Adams was there on the day and recalls: “It was a chilly day for a southerner! But, I was warmly dressed for the occasion. Although it isn’t easy to see, I am holding a very shiny spade in that photo. It wasn’t one of mine. It was loaned to me for the afternoon. The ‘Day of the Spades’ was an exceptionally splendid day, and one I will remember forever!”
Margaret Mackintosh also turned out on the day: “Proud we were there! With my Dad’s old spade. A fabulous occasion. Who’d have thought we would be digging down our lane in Silverdale a few years later!”
Company Secretary, Monica Lee, has been involved with B4RN since its inception. She is also a customer off the Quernmore cabinet. Monica said: “The ‘Day of the Spades’ was the start of the real, proper digging. That was the start of the route we follow now. And no, we never imagined it could go further. It was a powerful message, which now has interest from across the world several times over, because we are pretty unique in terms of a community venture.”
For those who wish to go further down memory lane, we’ve got a couple of videos from the day.
First of all, this video all about “Build Day 1” made by one-time B4RN volunteer, John Hamlett:
Secondly, a recording of the moment the first spade went into the ground, courtesy of then Mayor of Lancaster, Paul Woodruff: