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Join the beat...on the dance floor
9:00pm Thursday 18th October 2012 in News
The police team who started the first Bluez ’n’ Zuz teenage discos in Marlborough before the idea went national return to the town tomorrow night.
Supt Jerry Dawson, who was the Marlborough inspector when the idea was launched, will join some of the officers who helped to start the discos seven years ago.
They will receive the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from the Lord Lieutenant for Wiltshire, Sarah Rose Troughton.
The discos were an idea that came to Supt Dawson as he joined officers on their patrols of the town, estates and the Priory Gardens in 2005.
He said: “We had a lot of problems on one estate in particular and in the Priory Gardens where we had all these kids sitting round doing very little.
“I remember walking round one night and asking them ‘What are you doing here, haven’t you anything better to do?’ and they said they hadn’t. “I asked them if there was a disco for them, whether they would go and they said ‘yes’, and that was how it all started.”
Supt Dawson said he approached Andrew Moyes and Mark Gent, who owned the Azuza nightclub, who agreed to provide the premises and a DJ if police would advertise and run early evening discos.
The first Bluez ’n’ Zuz for Year 7-11 children were a huge success and before long as many as 300 children were applying for tickets.
Supt Dawson said he asked WPC Emma Brown to promote the discos.
Like all the other officers involved, she gave her time freely to help organise and run them.
Supt Dawson said he was delighted the idea had since been introduced all over the country.
He said: “The feedback from the kids has always been very positive”, adding that he was thrilled an idea “thought up on the back of a fag packet” had become so successful.
Over the years chief constables have attended the Marlborough Bluez ’n’ Zuz sessions, including Martin Richards, who even had a dance himself.
Devizes Bluez ’n’ Zuz, run by Devizes Neighbourhood Policing Team, will be celebrating its fifth birthday tomorrow.
The disco, held in the Merchants’ Suite at the Corn Exchange, follows the same format as the original at Marlborough’s Azuza nightclub.
PC Adam Hall, manager of the Devizes team, said: “This Friday we will surpass 9,000 young people having attended the events since they started. There will be a cake and prizes for best dressed ghost, witch or ghoul.”