24th Oct 2003 – her last day
Walking up East Church Road.
We saw Heathrow Airport workers pulling up in their pickup trucks and vans erecting barriers and fences around the Concorde crossing and around the north runway fence……This worried me and cheesed me off as all we wanted to see was Concorde on her last day, we didn’t want to be stopped by more “red“ tape.
Church road near Concorde crossing gates.
We crossed the dual carriage way and slowly headed towards Heathrow visitor centre, on our way there more people recognised me and this felt strange as I didn’t feel famous, I didn’t feel like I was a star.
When we got to the visitor centre we saw the grandstand and climbed on it, we thought we where going to be told to “move a long“ but no we where allowed to stay there…….When we got to the top I looked at the view and I thought
……….. doh, who the hell built it here, what planet where the “men in power“ on who decided to build it here as it was right “in front“ of a load of trees that destroyed the perfect view of Concorde hitting the ground and landing ……. how stupid and thick is that ?
If they where gonna build the stand here why didn’t they take the trees temporarily out and put them back in a few days later ? ………
Grandstand - behind trees ....... Doh
If they had the views from there would have been spectacular, but the trees got in the way and spoiled it all.
By this time more people could be seen walking around Heathrow, the Police had blocked off the foot path next to the fence and that foot path was now manned by Heathrow and external security guards (who worked for Heathrow), I got very very cheesed off by all this and thought
What the hell is going on……………
I stood on the grandstand using my EOS 3 to work out the best angles to take photos of her but even with a 400 mm zoom lens + x 1.4 teleconverter = 560mm lens I could not get close enough to see Concorde in full frame…… , I could not get a clear enough view as the trees where blocking it, that got on my wick, I walked off the grandstand and headed back towards the end of 27R (Eastern side of the North runway).
On my way there I met more friends from Concorde-SST who happily asked me
Jet how was your flight ?
I briefly spoke to them before I headed towards the end of 27R (Eastern side of the North runway).
On my way to the end of runway 27R more and more people recognised me it was unreal as 1 month before no one (apart from friends on Concorde-SST ) recognised me but now almost every one recognised me and spoke to me, it was just crazy (in a happy way).
I eventually got to the end of runway 27R by now Heathrow security and police had totally blocked off access to the fence next to runway 27R with barriers, fences and security guards stationed every 6 feet that annoyed me…..but I played it cool, turned around and headed back to the grandstand.
On my way back again more recognised me and spoke to me, I saw people selling Concorde photos on the foot path opposite the side of runway 27R at the time that annoyed the hell out of me as to me they where selling photos and profiteering from the “death” of an old and much loved friend (Concorde)…….That’s like some one selling photos and profiteering on Elvis Presley’s funeral while his coffin was driven to the church yard, to me it felt like that and that hurt a lot.
As I walked past them they handed me these leaflets with photo prices etc on them, some shoved the pieces of paper in my hand out of their view I just screwed up these leaflets and binned it as I didn’t want to know a few other people shoved these leaflets in my hand I said
No I don’t want it.
Then one spotty little geek badly swore at me when I again politely told him
No I don’t want your photos.
When I heard his swear words I felt like saying to him
Oi …….. Mr Zit go and buy some zit cream for those volcano’s on your face.
But I kept cool, didn’t say a thing and calmly walked past them.
As I walked to the grandstand I had my mobile phone switched on so and was waiting for the BBCs 10 ‘O’ clock news reporter to phone me and meet me for an interview.
The crowds had built to huge numbers around the Heathrow Visitor centre, the road in front of the grandstand was blocked off by the police and traffic diverted
As we walked past the Concorde crossing people began to recognise me, they happily asked me
How was your flight ? …………
And congratulated me, it felt really good but I tried not to let this get to me, I wanted to be “me” and I behaved normally.
We slowly proceeded towards the end of runway 27R, we saw more barriers and fences being erected around the eastern end of the North runway at all the decent places I’d watched her take off and land ………that was very annoying.
Left - is a photo of the grandstand opposite the North runway, as you can see its behind a load of trees.
They may not look much but standing on the grandstand behind the trees didn’t give much of a clear view to see Concorde landing.
Heathrow Management’s idea was great one. Its just a huge pity they didn’t look in to the finer detail to block this part of the road off and put the grandstand on the grass and concrete foot path INFRONT of the trees.
The above photo the grandstand is behind camera but this shows
how the road near the grandstand was blocked off and traffic
diverted by the Police and this was only at around 2pm.
The number of people coming to Heathrow just to see Concorde land was increasing all the time minute, by minute.....