Recently I have had the pleasure of having a lovely keen young medical student called Helen riding along with me at work. As you would expect, the curse of the observer applied once again. Every shift she was with me, we bumbled along with fairly mundane stuff. Conversely, on the days she was elsewhere on placements – guess what? I had some really interesting call outs. And in one in particular that turned her green with undisguised envy! Oh how jealous was she when having spent the day in a Walk-in Centre with a colleague she returned to do another shift with me only to discover that I had been within a stones throw of the stars of X Factor – JLS. Being something of a fan, she was gutted.
It was a really busy shift for us all in Croydon on Monday during which a number of ambulances attended the incident where a crowd of up to 5, 000 screaming teenagers clambered to get glimpse of the X Factor finalists JLS in Fairfield Halls. The performance had been widely advertised and free tickets distributed. Some of the keener ones had been there in the cold since about midday hoping that they may be able to get in to see the live performance that evening. One of the lads in JLS, Jonathan Gill (known as JB), is a Croydon boy and former Whitgift School pupil so there is tremendous local support for the band. The vast majority of the very excitable young people waited patiently for hours. However, unfortunately, there were only seats for 200 of them so obviously there were a lot of very disappointed young people who remained stuck out in the cold.
Then at around four o’clock a small group apparently started barging the others and in the ensuing panic about five young people were hurt as some were pushed up against the barriers. Police and others lifted many over to safety – luckily all suffered only very minor injuries. At least seven ambulance responses were sent to the scene but things settled down after the initial problems.
Braving the freezing temperatures and knowing they wouldn’t get in to the performance but just keen to briefly see their idols, approximately 2,000 fans stayed to wait until the boys eventually made their appearance and say ‘Hello’ to the crowds. After that, happy with this outcome most of the young people started to make their way home. I was standing by the doors to the Fairfield Halls as JLS passed within a few feet of me as they went out to wave at the crowds – Now I’m not a fan of X Factor and am not completely sure what all the fuss is about (it’s my age I know) but my poor young student was almost inconsolable because she, unlike me, didn’t get to see them in the flesh and couldn’t believe that she missed out. That will teach you to go off gallivanting won’t it Helen!