A report from Michael Joseph:


We started our run outside the art-deco terminal building at Shoreham Airport with 18 three-wheelers and over 50 members. Mike Bamber who had organised the 25th celebrations, kindly sponsored the car parking charges for everyone. Our initial stop was by the old wooden toll bridge where our first G.O. Maurice Northeast and wife Lil moored their two boats on which they lived. We heard hilarious tales of dunking cigarettes into petrol tanks, crumpet monks, saucepans of custard in the river Adur and the need for an oxygen tent when onboard. A few wooden skeletal frames sticking out of the mud are all that remain. Across the way was the Red Lion Pub where the first meetings were held. We then climbed back into our cars for the drive along fresh, leafy lanes past the distinctive Lancing College Chapel and Bramber Castle, then onwards to Wiston Village Hall. John Houlihan promised us a warm welcome and we got one with a blazing open fire, hot soup and chicken stew. Sue Houlihan and her Mum had been cooking for a week. We are extremely grateful to John and Sue who organised, paid for and provided almost everything. They had covered the walls with archive photographs, set up a video loop and some music at 78rpm. The setting at the foot of the South Downs was superb and the atmosphere just perfect.

After lunch it was time to reflect and reminisce over the last half century. Inevitably some of the early members have sold their cars, moved on and are untraceable. Sadly some of the characters from the past are no longer with us but are not forgotten including Maurice Northeast, Mick Courage, Nick Wood and Eric Walpole. How nice to see Brian and Fiona Courage each in a Morgan with their delightful children Will and Edie. We also had three generations of Booths; Chris and Marion in the Aero and in their recently restored F Type, Nick and Clare Sermon with very proud young Edward safely strapped into the rear seat. Looking resplendent and out on its first run was the Eric Walpole F Type inherited by son Laurence, with Jean as passenger. They deservedly won the ‘Primrose Trophy’. Some South Coast members from the very early days now live miles away but it was a treat to have Brian Weeks, Alan Webber, Paul Watton, Terry and Jen Gosling, George and Stephanie Dobson, Gary and Barbara Caroline and Dick and Sue Fripp joining us for the day. With long term regulars like Roy Williams, Dave and Jen Pittuck it was indeed a particularly special ’doo’. We were all of course delighted that Mike and Liz Bamber could make it. Mike needs a push start these days in his wheel chair but it was a fitting occasion at which to pay tribute and give thanks for his huge contribution over many years as GO, Membership Secretary and Mogspares Administator. For the 25th Mike had produced some commemorative etched drink coasters of the old toll bridge. This time John H reproduced some more from a new photograph.

Later on I facilitated a relaxed and congenial trip down memory lane with everyone contributing a story or two. It was then time to cut the birthday cake, beautifully made by Jen Pittuck and decorated with her crystallised primroses. We sat outside to savour along with tea, sunshine, the South Downs, and the memories that made up a golden anniversary.

Photos from Brian Weeks.  To view the photo gallery, click on any of the photos to bring up a larger version. You can scroll forwards and backwards using the [,] and [.] keys. Press [ESC] or click on the image to Exit.