So far around 1,100 have taken the pledge for this year – about five per cent up on this time last year – but the more people who take part the faster and more efficiently the job can be done.
Last year, during the course of the fortnight, around 1,700 marshals were used to meet the 520 minimum manning level – more are needed because not every marshall does every session.
‘The growing popularity of the event has helped us and last year we had 29 different countries represented among our marshals,’ Mr Holmes said.
‘We are getting quite a few Americans and Australians these last few years. One even flew from New York to Liverpool specially to do an incident management (IMC) course, then he came back to marshal at the TT and Manx Grand Prix.’
Extra marshalling points between Sulby and Ramsey and extra flagging points mean the minimum marshalling level has risen to 520 from around 508 a few years ago.
There is to be a marshals’ refresher course at the St John Ambulance HQ in Douglas on the middle Sunday of TT fortnight, when volunteers get to brush up on skills and visit the control tower for a talk with clerk of the course Gary Thompson, and the helipad at the hospital where Dr David Stevens will give a short talk.
A few spaces still remain on the IMC courses on the Thursday and Friday of practice week. On a more informal level anyone who would like to jog their memory on how to use flags or the two-way radio can drop into the marshals’ office where someone will be available to help.
The new online signing up process has provided a boost for the association because it can save on postage.
‘It’s only the second year we have run this system so we are pleased with the results but we do want to encourage people to use it. It costs about £1 for each form we mail out to people so if they can sign on-line – or, if they know they can’t take part, let us know by email before we send a form out - that’s a huge saving on our costs which can then be put into more training and improvements,’ Mr Holmes said.
The marshals’ stall at the recent Stafford bike show was also kept busy: ‘We had a lot of interest there this year.’
A further boost came from two of the island’s banks who invited the marshals in to give lunchtime presentations about marshalling to their employees.
‘We did a talk for Barclays and seven of their staff signed up, then afterwards Lloyds also invited us in. It has been a great success so we are hoping a few more of the businesses in the island might like to do the same,’ he said.
The scheme has the advantage of boosting the numbers of local marshals whose services are especially valuable during practice week when fewer visitors have arrived.
Collection nights have been arranged for marshals to pick up their marshalling packs, starting on Thursday, May 15, at the S100 office in Castletown.
Further sessions follow on:
Monday, May 19, at Ramsey masonic hall,
Tuesday the Tynwald Inn, St John’s,
Wednesday the Queen’s Hotel in Laxey,
Thursday the Sulby Glen Hotel
Friday, May 23, at the marshals’ office at the grandstand.
All collection sessions start at 6.30pm.
For more information contact the office on 618191