AN event set to inspire youngsters and put Westbury on the map has had to be postponed due to the ongoing pandemic restrictions.
The inaugural White Horse Soapbox Derby, which was scheduled for May 22nd, has been a year in the planning by Westbury Town Council and the partners it has been working with. The event will see carts made by secondary school pupils and remote carts by primary school children raced downhill through the countryside near the White Horse.
An engineering fair and stalls will also feature to introduce students to the industry, with a view to linking them up with future apprenticeships at the area’s numerous firms.
But in an announcement earlier this month, Westbury Town Council said, “The White Horse Soapbox Derby will no longer take place on May 22nd 2021 because of the ongoing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It s our intention if circumstances allow, to hold this event in 2022, with more details to follow when current restrictions are relaxed or removed. Public safety remains Westbury Town Council’s primary focus, which is why the postponement of the event is undeniably the best course of action. The decision has been made after consultation with public health and our other project partners.”
The council had been working with local educational establishments, Wiltshire Council, The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, the Dyson Institute and American Aerospace Corporation Lockheed Martin.
The council’s statement continued, “Despite the adjournment, we will continue to work hard to build relationships, engage educators and businesses and look to make the White Horse Soapbox Derby even bigger and better when it is safe to do so.
“One of the primary objectives of the event is to offer local schoolchildren an exciting introduction into STEM learnings (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
“Alongside engineering partners across the south west, Westbury Town Council will endeavour to continue a programme of workshops similar to the coding workships that ran remotely at primary schools in 2020.
“Thank you for your understanding and patience.”
Permission had been secured from landowners and the council was helped by Wiltshire Council with insurance for the derby to take place at Long River Walk.
Presenting an update about the progress of the plans to Westbury Town Council last autumn, the council’s events manager Ryan Child said recorded workshops and an introduction to coding designed by Lockheed Martin, had been shown to two local primary schools.
He explained planning had continued in the hope that if something was in the pipeline, if restrictions were lessened, it would be good to go.
Ryan said at the time, “It’s very important to get people back out into the countryside.
“The White Horse and fields are very beautiful and we can make it very picturesque, and it’s about getting the community out to an event that Westbury can be very proud of.”