STRANDED drivers stuck in 18 hour traffic jams as they headed to Dover were dancing on the motorway thanks to a tuneful steel pan group from Warwick.
The Steel Pan Academy, which has members from across the district, ditched their seat belts and took to the roads to provide frustrated drivers and passengers some respite from the relentless traffic queues last weekend.
Despite not eating all day, performers put on a brave face while waiting to cross the channel before completing their journey to Belgium where they were due to perform that night.
Diana Hancox – director of the Academy – praised the patience and spirit of her members – the youngest of which is just 12-years-old.
Ms Hancox, who formerly taught at Coten End School, said: “Obviously we were all very excited but then we hit the traffic and it was just a nightmare.
“We did talk about getting the steel pans out until eventually we got one out and it was fantastic – people came out of their cars and started singing and dancing, we had a wonderful time.
“We only got the one out as we were worried if the traffic started moving we’d be stuck.”
It took Diana and her team 28 hours to reach Belgium – where their scheduled appearance had to be delayed.
She added: “We even had a pregnant lady knock on our van door and ask if she could have some of our food as they were struggling to cope.
“Though it wasn’t ideal, I’m sure we’ll look back with fond memories – the look on people’s faces when we started playing was priceless.
“Everyone was so supportive, it’s amazing how by just bringing some joy to the situation made people interact with each other – that was the nice part.
“Our performance in Belgium when we finally arrived went well – we’ll definitely be returning, just perhaps not on the first school summer holiday weekend.”
Visit steelpanacademy.org.uk to find out more about the group.