Get into the combat zone at Battle Stations
- Credit: Archant
In the heart of Norfolk, two ex-military men have created a sci-fi fan's paradise combining a multitude of activities from laser tag to lightsaber combat.
Lee Belcher and Darren Marsh set up Battle Stations at Snetterton Park two years ago and grown an empty shell of a site into a sprawling complex offering eight activities.
There is an indoor combat zone and two outdoor areas – named Modern Warfare and Battle Town – which can each accommodate around 40 people at a time.
With networks of metal shelters, tyre walls and a multistorey structure – soon to become a battleship – there are ample stages for visitors of any age to enact a fearsome battle with paintballs, arrows, or the venue's most popular weapon, Airsoft BB guns.
Battle Stations also hosts monthly Zombie Nights, a three hour combat scenario where participants can fight their way through a crowd of 'infected' aggressors.
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The outdoor zones are also fitted with floodlights to enable nighttime activities.
Mr Marsh, who served in the Army for 22 years, said: 'Once you have had your briefing and got your headband on it is game on – your heart starts pumping and the adrenalin is buzzing, and that is what we are all about.'
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Wednesday saw members of Thetford Business Forum visit the venue for a master class with its newest weapons, lightsabers, led by 'Battlemaster Gin' (marshal Rob Preston).
Mr Belcher, who served as an Army engineer for 25 years, and Mr Marsh both ran separate laser combat venues – one in Old Buckenham and one in Thetford Forest – before deciding to go into business together.
They moved from Thetford Forest to Snetterton Park, off the A11, two years ago, with nothing on site but two 20ft containers and built their entire complex from scratch.
On their busiest day in 2016, five of the company's mobile vans were out around the country and 200 people were playing at the Snetterton venue.
Mr Belcher said: 'We both had ideas of where we wanted the company to go, but now we work in parallel quite nicely.
'The military background helps you take command of a group, and me and Darren pass that attitude onto our marshals as well.'
Mr Marsh said: 'Coming out of the Army and transitioning to civilian life is hard, and it is harder to do it on your own, but once we teamed up we shared the load.
'Our mind set is the same and together we make our ideas work.'
In 2017 the pair plan to purchase more vans to expand their mobile business.
For more information see the Battle Stations Facebook page.