On Bank Holiday Monday I avoided the crowds at the Notting Hill Carnival and opted for something equally colourful but slightly less frenzied – the Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s 2012 Sports Day held on the site of London’s Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens just around the corner from the tube station.
This year the event had a grand opening ceremony modelled on the Olympic Games – there was a very serious and committed drummer, dancers, performers from the NHS formed rings and even the Queen arrived on her helicopter to help compere the proceedings, although to be fair she bore more of a resemblance to Kenny Everett than Elizabeth Windsor! Teams were arrayed in various forms of fancy dress and carried names such as the Rainbow Warriorettes, Jedi Scum and my favourites, The Mavis Cruet Experience (who were dressed as fairies). The day involved some relatively straight forward events such as an egg & spoon race and a tug-of-war, but in keeping with local traditions at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern most of the competitions leaned towards the rather more camp, including a space hopper relay, handbag flinging and the ever-popular ’50 metre mince’. Much fun was had by all – I think the space hopper relay got the most laughs from the crowd!
The two organisations benefiting from this year’ event were Vauxhall City Farm (which I’ve visited this year) and GMFA. Vauxhall City Farm has been in existence since 1976 and offers riding therapy and opportunities for inner-city kids to see and interact with farm animals up close, and they’ve even got a couple of alpacas! GMFA has been providing sexual health services for gay men in London since 1992. They offer HIV awareness and prevention programmes across the city, sexual health clinics and support services. You can read more about their mission here.
There’s a technicolour album of photographs from the Royal Vauxhall Tavern’s 2012 Sports Day on Google Plus where you can check out all the action – feast your eyes on these beauties for example!