(L-R) Richard Mellor, Graham Brady, Keith Brady, Ken Dunn

We’re up to stop 11 of the B4RN Awards Tour at Borwick & Priest Hutton.

For those who don’t know, we’re sending the INCA and ISPA trophies B4RN won last year to the communities and volunteers who’ve installed the gigabit full fibre network over the last decade.

Four volunteers – Keith Brady; Ken Dunn, Richard Mellor and Graham Brady – met us at the local Memorial Hall to look back on their project.

Keith Brady: “We got started when we realised the orange duct had reached Capernwray. We had a meeting in here and it started from there.”

Ken Dunn: “When I first heard about it there was some item on BBC North about a bunch of farmers in the Lune Valley who decided that they need broadband for running their farm.”

KB: “You saw them digging in trenches and thought ‘I want part of that’!”

KD: “It takes a little while to build trust in your own community. People are suspicious. They see these old boys every Tuesday and Wednesday showing up and tramping around the village with spades and mattocks.”

KB: “We were unusual in that we worked a regular midweek session. Everybody knew exactly what was happening. It was routine and it worked for us. We only did one or two weekends.”

Richard Mellor: “I was lucky to retire a bit early. But I never thought I’d end up digging trenches for the next three years in the freezing cold and the wet. But actually, in a masochistic way, it was fun!”

KD: “Others looked after us when we came to dig. Cream cakes…”

KB: “The whole project was cake driven.”

Volunteers add another customer, 2015

Talk turned to any stand out memories…

KB: “There were a bus load of people they were doing a show and tell day. And also there was a journalist, they’d come to take photographs. That was the day we managed to get a digger cutting through at least two water pipes!

“We had some days where we were working in three different places at the same time. And I thought this is brilliant.”

RM: “Why was it brilliant?”

Graham Brady: “Because you could spend the whole day not actually…”

KD: “He went from one to the other but was never in a ditch!”

KB: “No! I kept a daily diary of what we used to do and we did a kilometre and a half in a day.”

The group reflect on the social aspect of B4RN…

RM: “There’s a few of us who go to cricket matches as a result of talking.”

KD: “It was a bonding experience, I hardly knew anyone more than to say hello. I wouldn’t say they’re mates. But now we’re a whole bunch of mates.

“I got to go places in the village, with the villagers. In other circumstances, I’d never have got to.”

KB: “I really enjoyed working outside. It was really nice. Very sort of satisfying.”

RM: “I was actually amazed how temperate our climate is, we pretty much worked 10months of the year.”

KB: “The weather was very kind to us throughout 2014.”

RM: “We had to use suncream!”

The group wanted to give honourable mentions to Martin Radley, Craig Scott and James Fletcher.

Core route going in, 2014