Fireworks competition takes off despite coronavirus threat

AN ANNUAL national fireworks event which faced the axe due to Covid restrictions has gone off with a bang.

More than 5,000 spectators witnessed the major competition – one of the largest outdoor entertainment gatherings since the coronavirus lockdown began – thanks to a line-marking robot who assisted with social distancing.

Firework Champions, which has run every summer for 16 years, brought together a trio of companies that each prepared a 10-minute musically choreographed showcase to compete at Belvoir Castle, near Grantham, on Saturday evening.

After an audience text vote, Explosive Fireworks were hailed champions.

The event had been thrown into chaos when the government announced the national lockdown at the end of March.
But organisers MLE Pyrotechnics were relieved to hear the news in July that large outdoor events could go ahead if they were Covid-19 secure.

Mat Lawrence, of MLE Pyrotechnics, said: “At the earliest opportunity we opened discussions with local councils for each of the four remaining events in the Firework Champions calendar. This was supported by expert help from our independent safety advisers.
“With our ticketing system we looked at purchases over the last six years, both day and pre-booked, and this enabled us to work out the average people per bubble and the spacing required.”

The organisers had to provide marked out boxes to achieve successful social distancing and this was done thanks to significant investment into a robotic line marker which allowed 60km of boundaries to be marked to 1cm accuracy.

Diagrams and maps were distributed and communication made with all ticket holders prior to the event, while touch-free hand sanitisers were also installed at the venue.

UKLoos provided toilets and event staff checked the queues for social distancing while first aid facilities were also on hand.
The drive-in site held 900 cars, located 620 metres from the fireworks, so the organisers provided the only Martin Audio Longbow PA system in the UK to allow the music to be thrown a long distance.

MLE Pyrotechnics is still basking in the positive feedback it has received from Saturday’s audience and is now offering its line-marking service out under the brand Event Marking.
The company has three more fireworks events planned this year:

Stanford Hall – Saturday 29 August
Eastnor Castle – Saturday 5 September
Ragley Hall – Saturday 12 September
Tickets can be purchased from

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New InsureTech solution launched to ward off legal threat from digital accessibility non-compliance

A new technology solution has been launched to help organisations demonstrate reasonable adjustment towards digital accessibility compliance, and ward off the threat of increasingly prevalent legal action in the USA.  AAAtraq is an automated compliance identification management system that allows organisations to understand their existing level of accessibility non-compliance risk exposure, and then work towards full compliance through a managed process.

The number of digital accessibility lawsuits filed against companies of all sizes in the USA increased by 183% between 2017 and 2018 , and with increasing media scrutiny, those numbers are expected to have risen substantially in 2019. In one of the more high-profile cases, Domino’s Pizza was found guilty of not making its website app accessible for use by people with visual impairments, and was forced to make adjustments to improve its user experience.

AAAtraq is a new service that wants to reverse these trends, by giving website owners a low cost, fast track route to protecting their organisations from the risks of legal action with an easy to use managed service. As well as a personalised pathway to compliance, subscribers receive an AAAtraq ‘accessibility rating’ badge that can be displayed on websites warning those looking to take legal action that they are working towards digital compliance. Complementary insurance—currently for US-based organisations—with up to a US$50,000 benefit limit from global carrier BRIT adds further protection.

AAAtraq assesses current levels of risk, provides guidance to demonstrate reasonable adjustment and enables ongoing certification. A complementary ‘risk profile’ is accessible immediately online, helping any organization to quickly understand if their website is currently compliant and the precise level of risk they face.


A monthly subscription service provides access to AAAtraq’s full managed service, which offers an automated approach to achieving ongoing compliance. This includes: a guided methodology and full digital supplier management, AI based training and education for developers and content producers, to ensure they understand their responsibilities; benchmarking and KPIs to measure improvements.

An inherent part of the non-compliance problem, according to CEO Lawrence Shaw, is that that accessibility legislation has become overly complicated. “Organisations are not deliberately non-compliant, but the level of misinformation in circulation coupled with a succession of successful legal cases in the US, has created the perfect storm,” he says.

This is because of three factors: opportunistic lawyers seeking financial rewards, digital suppliers who are not being held accountable by their clients and end user organisations who are too reliant on third party suppliers and unsure of their responsibilities according to the accessibility legislation to demonstrate ‘reasonable adjustment’.

“Digital inaccessibility lawsuits are one of the fastest growing financial risks for organisations who are literally ‘burying their heads in the sand’ because they don’t understand the accessibility legislation and mistakenly believe it is difficult and expensive to comply,” concludes Shaw.

For more information visit
Or contact

James Simpson, Managing Director,
TMCC +44 (0)13 7272 4686
+44 (0)77 7192 0893

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