Volunteer St Albans Half Marathon marshal gets parking fine
- Credit: Photo supplied
A cancer survivor volunteering as a marshal at the recent St Albans Half Marathon has branded a parking zealot a “disgrace” after being ticketed while ensuring the safety of runners.
His £35 fine has infuriated the founder of a local charity, Wendy Gough, whose team of volunteers have helped marshal the Batchwood Drive/Bluehouse Hill roundabout and Redbourn Road exit at the major fundraising event for 14 years.
Wendy, who set up the Wendy Gough Cancer Awareness Foundation after her son died of cancer, said the charity was reimbursing the marshal’s payment of the “ridiculous” fine.
She added: “This young man has fought cancer and survived. To have this happen to him is really devastating as it was the first marshalling event he had gone to, as he felt like he wanted to give something back to the community.”
Wendy said: “We have always parked in the same place, under the trees well off the roundabout, on the corner of Bluehouse Hill and Redbourn Road. This year, however, we were targeted at the height of the race when the largest number of runners were passing our point, by a policeman on a motorcycle.
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“The young cancer survivor was ticketed, even though roads were closed at the time.”
One of the marshals explained that just as runners were passing by the roundabout, a police officer told the volunteers to move their vehicles “pronto or we would all get parking tickets”.
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Wendy said that the marshals found the police officer “obnoxious”.
She added: “The policeman said that someone from the council had told him they had to move, and he insisted everyone park their cars elsewhere, in the middle of the race.
“There were about four cars there. The team had marshal’s bibs, passes, tape and first aid kit. I am absolutely livid.”
While several marshals left the roundabout to re-park, the cancer survivor stayed behind to ensure runners’ safe passage. But when the others returned and he left to move his vehicle, it had been ticketed.
The man, who does not wish to be named, said it was “a disgrace!”
Wendy added: “We carry emergency kit and water for runners, should anyone need help. We are volunteers that help every year with the half marathon, and have to put up with a lot of verbal abuse from some members of the public, which is unbelievable but it is part of the job.
“This fine just isn’t on.”
St Albans district council’s head of legal services Mike Lovelady said that restrictions preventing parking on grass verges were introduced in the Bluehouse Hill area “for safety reasons and to protect verges”.
He said there was “clear signage” informing drivers that parking was not allowed at any time.
Mr Lovelady added: “Given the circumstances, we will be making a £35 donation to the cancer charity that reimbursed the driver.
“We deeply value the charity’s support in providing volunteer marshals for the half marathon, and want to thank all marshals for giving up their time to help make the event happen.”
Mr Lovelady said guidance on parking was publicised on the event’s website, but the council would ask organisers to provide clearer instructions on parking to marshals in future.