And the result is….?

One of the things we’re always encouraging here at Stay Up Late is that people are supported to try out new experiences, sometimes that’s a good idea, sometimes it isn’t, but as I always say the only way that I discovered I love curry was by trying it one day.

So whilst having a bit of holiday off from work me and the family decided we’d try something we’d never done before and went off for a night of stock car racing at the Arlington stadium near Eastbourne. There was a great atmosphere and we all got quite in to it, you could almost taste the engine oil on your hotdog. The highlight of all the races had to be the banger racing which was hilarious fun. The other races on the night are meant to be ‘non-contact’ races and the climax of the night was the final banger race where the track is strewn with smashes up cars.

Why am I going on about this?

Well, just before the final race started (9.45pm) the group of people with learning disabilities who’d been sitting behind us in the grandstand were all quickly ushered out by their support workers en mass. No explanation was given as to why they had to miss the climax of the evening, (and no consultation or whether they should leave then or now) just a rather brusk “come on we’ve got to go now”. This reminds me of the time when I was watching Brighton and Hove Albion a few years ago when the Albion came back from a goal down in the last 10 minutes and won the game 2-1 in dramatic style. And just before this amazing ending I watched two support workers escorting two people with learning disabilities out of the ground, and I found out later that this was to beat the crowds.

So why go to something if you’re not going to be able to enjoy the ending? If you’re worried about the crowds you can stick around for a few minutes after, they don’t last long, and ironically at the motor racing we ended up leaving the car park before the disabled group’s minibus anyway.

But is there more to this issue than merely leaving the ending? If I’ve paid for something I want to enjoy all of it, so would this in fact count as some sort of an abuse of my finances if I was told I couldn’t stay for the activity I’d paid for?

It’s like leaving Star Wars before they blow up the Death Star, or leaving the Olympic Stadium before Jessica Ennis wins her gold, just to beat the rush on the tube. We really need to start thinking differently.

As for our experience, well it was great fun but it was an expensive night out so I won’t be repeating it again in a hurry, but at least I could make the decision to stay to the end and enjoy the experience whilst it lasted.

What do you think – is this financial abuse, or is it just practical to try and beat the crowds?

Paul Richards


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