(L-R) Mary Tyson, Carolina Goodship, Nigel Goodship, Peter Robinson, Lizzie McKinnon, Peter Stockdale

Mansergh is stop 18 for the B4RN Awards Tour!

This Cumbrian project also took in places including Kearstwick, Lupton and Rigmaden.

We’re taking the INCA and ISPA trophies – won last year – out to the volunteers and communities who’ve worked so hard over the last decade to build the B4RN gigabit full fibre broadband network.

Six volunteers gathered at Mansergh Community Hall for a photo with the prizes and to look back on their project. They were Mary Tyson, Carolina Goodship, Nigel Goodship, Peter Robinson, Lizzie McKinnon and Peter Stockdale.

Conversation started by thinking back to the very beginning…

Mary Tyson – “[Before B4RN] I couldn’t stream anything on a TV, I think we got 4 [Mbps download].”

Peter Stockdale – “We went to a meeting at the Community Hall and I was sceptical when I came to the meeting and I wasn’t sceptical when I left. I already had broadband and I thought I didn’t need anything better… but my eyes were opened.”

Lizzie McKinnon – “I think it was hard to understand the benefit and how good it would be until we’d done it. Maybe that was the tricky thing for other groups too.”

Nigel Goodship – “Barry Forde did a great presentation. What impressed me most was the way the community reacted. Everybody was pretty positive. I think by the end of the project it brought the community together. Brilliant!”

MT – “We found quite a few people when hesitant about having it suddenly realised that if they had it put in then when they sold their houses then their houses would be more attractive.”

PS – “[Landowners] wanted the service and they helped deliver the service. They helpthe community. we’requiteclose-knit.Noreal hiccoughs at all.

And what difference has B4RN made?

NG – “Particularly for those with children in a time of home learning over the last two years, it’s been invaluable. [Personally] my previous service would get worse when it was wet weather or after storms. I as working from home with some sophisticated I.T., VPNs and hardware. The service would cut several times a day and each time it would take ten minutes to get back on. B4RN doesn’t keep cutting out!”

Nigel Goodship speaking to the press at a directional drill, 2017

What was your B4RN build like?

NG – “Quite a lot of the digging over the fields was done by [contractor] Tony Swidenbank.”

LM – “We’d help with the fiddly bits and make sure everything was labelled. We had one or two good community dig days in the rain and mud, but [our job] was generally the coordination.”

MT – “Tony was brilliant, sometimes he’d do a mile and a half in a day.”

NG –  “One local shepherd spoke to him in one of his fields and said, ‘does nothing stop you?’ and Tony said, ‘yes, Friday afternoon!'”

What about the social side of B4RN?

PS – “The Community Hall here… B4RN coincided with a lottery grant to improve that. It attracted people for courses and classes online. It has brought people together.”

LM – “For us, we got to know people form neighbouring communities like Hutton Roof and Casterton.”

Peter Robinson -“Putting the fibre in was another way to meet people. I went into lots of houses I’ve never known and met them. They all wave to me now in the car. Great Fun!”

Carolina Goodship – “We got to know our neighbours very well.”

NG -“We did, yes. Nothing like digging a trench through their front lawn!”

The group wished to give honourable mentions to the following people: Anne Cox, for help raising money; Derek Wightman, for lots of drilling; Philip Pease, for granting wayleaves; Craig Bradshaw, for house fittings; Steve Crossley, for house fittings; and Burt Medcalfe,