THE MGCC MIDLAND CENTRE ANNUAL CHAIRMAN'S PICNIC, SUNDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER 2009
Charlecote Park near Warwick
Sunday 06-09-09 thankfully dawned dry but a little on the cool side for the Kilsby natter who turned out to organize the picnic, where chairman John and Judy Fry were able to welcome owners from across the Midland Centre and beyond. !4 different natters were represented, including one each from South Africa and the USA. We had a little sunshine and some more of that persistent breeze that has marked the last few weeks, however the glorious setting at Charlecote Park made a fitting backdrop to a cracking turnout of 46 MGs. They ranged from Helen Lobb’s immaculate 1948 TC, a South African car that was a basket case and has been restored to concours condition, right up to 2009 LE500s brought along by David Wood and Chris Parker. Significant that F and TF models dominated the entry, no less than 18, a tribute to their popularity.
Our visitors spanned the globe, Glenys and Tony Morris from Elizabethtown, South Africa left Rugby 28 years ago, they are visiting family here for 3 months and have been to the August and September Kilsby natters where they have regaled us with their exploits in an MGBGT that includes towing a caravan to their club events. They were able to swap yarns with John and Judy and also John Plummer, in TFs, all of whom spent many years in RSA.
Rick Willoughby, 1970 BGT, Kilsby natter leader, had a phone message on the preceding Friday asking him to call room 403 on a London number. Despite being a little puzzled Rick made contact with Jack Alden a USAF Hercules/Loadstar navigator based in Ramstein, Germany and hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jack had driven from his base to MG Live! at Silverstone in July after which he left his 1972 B roadster at Mildenhall before flying back to Ramstein. He made the return journey this weekend. His B started first time and after a quick wash to remove the cobwebs (from the B) he and the car arrived safely at Charlecote, quite a journey.
Furthest travelled of the UK visitors were Mike and Maria Taylor, V8B roadster, from near Sleaford in Lincolnshire, they are organizing the V8 register weekend in Buxton, first weekend in October and still have a few places left on the event.
Jim Gibson from Mears Ashby, 1975 V8GT, longtime Kilsby natterer and V8 register treasurer celebrated his 60th birthday, the gazebo was appropriately decorated, the usual anthem sung, then delicious cakes appeared, courtesy of Sue.
Dave Lockett from Tewksbury, in his pristine red 1954 TF, was the lucky winner of the prize draw and received £40 of M&S gift vouchers. A donation was been made to the Abingdon Museum and the Warwickshire air ambulance also benefited, this last donation in memory of Malcolm Garrett who passed away recently.
Picnic groups added to the colour of the occasion, the grounds and house were busy with visitors who were able to admire the MGs as they strolled down the drive. Some of the MG ladies went off to play croquet. There was plenty of light aircraft movement all day into Wellesbourne which is almost in the next field, they were arriving at the rate of one a minute around 09:00. We also saw a Spitfire hustling from an airshow in the afternoon, one never sees them flying slowly, they always seem to be in a hurry, it’s that kind of aircraft.
A relaxing day, plenty of time for a chat, to renew acquaintance and admire the cars. Many thanks to the stalwarts from the Kilsby natter who without fail give so freely of their time to help both before and on the day.
Finally, thanks also to Tim Harris and Pam Hill of NT Charlecote Park for making us so welcome, and for allowing Claire Rees, 1970 Midget, access to the museum roof for some photographs. The balustrade is in poor condition and closed to the public, but it is getting on for 400 years old, I fear the restoration will be more daunting and expensive than even a basket case MG, it’s what you can’t see….