In October last year


In October last year, we got an email from a production company asking us for a quote for hire prices for a list of plant as long as your arm. There was everything from LED lighting masts to petrol saws, transformers to heaters, cement mixers.... you get the gist. 

There were a couple of items I queried and got chatting to May, the kit coordinator. When I asked which programme all the tools and plant were to be used on, I was told in confidence “Challenge Anneka’s coming back”. It immediately dawned on me that prices weren’t going to come into this. I asked Paul, our MD, what he thought about helping out for free. He donated everything. 

The project was local to us, in Luton, and because the episode hasn’t been aired yet, I won’t spoil the surprise which organisation was being upgraded; but what an experience it turned out to be. 


We were invited down to the site to see the before and after results of their labours.  Donations of labour and kit were flooding in from all over the country. 

The site was buzzing when we arrived on the first day, with so many smiling faces, despite the cold, wet conditions, that we knew this was a special project. After a week of digging, drilling, smoothing, painting and 'zhuzzhing’, including making a chill out area for the young people using this facility, it was done.  

We met so many fab people, volunteers, trades and members of the organisation. We've offered any future plant hire to the organisation and so far they've taken us up with the loan of a little excavator.  Take it from us; if you’ve never got involved with a project like this before you could do a lot worse than saying “yes” and getting stuck in. We got such a warm fuzzy feeling from it and made some great new friends in the process.  


I don’t know how challenged Anneka was, but the trades certainly were, and loved every minute! A week after the end of the project, we got another email from May asking if we could help out with another shopping list. “Where is it?” I asked from our office in good old ‘Funstable Dunstable’. “Kent”, she said. I looked heavenward and said...... ”what do you need?.........” and that was our involvement in another episode, the one aired last Saturday night on Channel 5 – renovating the Foal Farm Animal Rescue Centre in Biggin Hill. 

Half the fun of watching the programme for us was seeing how many ALLPLANT stickers we could spy on the equipment we’d loaned! Big thanks to our lovely Altrad Belle rep Daniel Pinder for lending all of the bright orange Belle Warrior wheelbarrows for both projects!  

So, when you see the Luton episode of Challenge Anneka on your telly on a not-too-distant Saturday from now, get spotting those ALLPLANT stickers and be safe in the knowledge that there’ll be a load of us fools here in Funstable doing the same thing too!!