Anyone can become a BLOODHOUND Ambassador, but when engineering is in your genes and really fires you up, there’s nothing more exciting than passing that excitement on to the next generation (or two). Peter McCree JP, BLOODHOUND Ambassador, explains why.
Getting the BLOODHOUND bug
My first exposure to BLOODHOUND was an article in The Times in October 2008 explaining that the current World Land Speed Record holder, Wing Commander Andy Green, and former record holder Richard Noble were building a new car to break the current record and to attempt to travel at over 1,000mph. By coincidence I was looking for a speaker for the annual luncheon of the Industrial & Commercial Energy Association (of which I was CEO), so I booked Andy to address our members the following May.
Needless to say, Andy's presentation was a resounding success. I became so fired up about the Project I immediately paid to put my grandchildren's names on the fin of the Car, joined the 1K Club and vowed to become involved as soon as I could.
I eventually enrolled as an Ambassador and signed up to both work with youngsters and help at shows, preparing a PowerPoint presentation to use in schools when talking about STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. This was based on a template from BLOODHOUND, and there are now all sorts of additional materials available for Ambassadors, including learning sheets, photos, videos, guides and related information.
It’s in the genes
I have always valued education and BLOODHOUND has turned out to be an ideal vehicle to inspire young people. But even so, why would I want to stand up in front of a class of youngsters and talk about the Project, and how could I make the work we are doing to build a Land Speed Record Car seem relevant to their future careers? Quite simply, engineering is in my genes – my father and grandfather were both engineers, and although I had a good education, all I wanted to do was leave school as soon as possible and become an apprentice.
Doing an apprenticeship was a great move which I have never regretted. Due to the excellent grounding my apprenticeship provided, I was seldom short of a solution, no matter what task or job I took on, and when I eventually went into management, I was always able to relate to the work being done at ground floor level.
Going back to school
My experience of addressing a class, working with them on building and racing balloon cars, and sometimes even addressing the whole school, has always been very interesting – only once was I asked a question that I couldn’t answer immediately. The pupils and the schools are always very appreciative, and as a parent and grandparent I am fascinated to see the enthusiasm that can be generated by just a couple of hours spent with youngsters.
If I was to offer a tip to prospective Ambassadors, it would be to customise your presentations to match the age group of the audience, who may range from children as young as 5 to somewhat more mature adults.
Enjoying the Rocket Car Experience as a grandad
My most recent visit to the BLOODHOUND Technical Centre was to offer my three eldest grandchildren the opportunity see the Car and to build and race rocket cars. The event started with the enthusiastic ‘Chief Inspirer’ Rob Bennett giving an interactive presentation on the origins of land speed records and on BLOODHOUND. The audience was very attentive and Rob certainly made the youngsters think about the answers to the questions he posed, as well as explaining how science, technology, engineering and maths relate to so many varied careers.
My grandchildren thoroughly enjoyed the event, not least because one achieved the fastest time of the afternoon and another's car was third fastest. (Although I have to admit that they did receive a helping hand from grandad, who has watched many rocket cars being built and raced in the past!) I thought it was a golden opportunity for them to stand in front of the actual fin of the Car and have their photos taken.
You can read more about 2018 elsewhere on our website, where you can find out how to become an Ambassador or request a visit from one of our team.