Lancashire Automobile Cub – Report on 2019 – 2020

Last Tuesday evening saw the 118th Annual General Meeting of the Lancashire Automobile Club (1902) Ltd.

Here is the report presented by the club secretary, Martin Wylie, to the members present. It gives a good account of the Club’s activities over the year.

Lancashire Automobile Club (1902) Limited

118th Annual General Meeting

 Tuesday 25th February 2020 @ 20:00hrs

Whalley Golf Club, Long Leese Barn, Clerk Road, Whalley

Honorary Secretary’s Report for the year 2019/2020

My report is intended to cover the events which have taken place during the twelve month period February 2019 to February 2020.  It has once again been a busy, varied and notable year for the Lancashire Automobile Club and I will attempt to record as such on the following pages.

The year commenced in its usual manner at the annual dinner dance and prize presentation evening at Mitton Hall where the club and its members were able to enjoy a celebration of its past year and present a number of awards to acknowledge the achievements of a varied number of people.  The event, as ever, was a great success and featured a champagne reception, 3-course meal and live music.  It would not have been possible without the sterling efforts of Carolyn Taylor, ably assisted by Eileen Dyson, for which the club wishes to place on record its gratitude and appreciation.

As well as running its own events, the club provides assistance to third parties and one such recipient of this help was the North West Stages – a long established tarmac rally which takes place at multi-venues and which last year featured, for the first time, closed roads sections.  Thanks to Chris Lee and the various LAC marshals who assisted and helped to ensure a fantastic day of road rallying. The future of motorsport depends on events such as this and its imperative that local, grass roots clubs support such ventures.

The first LAC road event – The St George’s Day Rally – took place on Sunday 29th April and coincided with the FBHVC’s Drive it Day.  This annual event seeks to promote the right for historic vehicles to have a place on the highways and byways of Great Britain.  The participation of clubs up and down the country allow people to see (and hear!) many cars form past years as well as keeping historic marques alive and ensuring a multi-million pound business is viable.  The income to the economy from historic vehicles is enormous and every effort to enable its sustainability must be supported by active motor clubs such as the LAC.  The event itself was another success with cars starting and finishing at Blackburn Northern Sports Club; in between was a route penned by Chris Lee which provided for roads and scenery to show off the North’s great vista’s and heritage.  A bacon butty and a finger buffet helped to top and tail a great way to kick start the season.

Saturday 19th May was another notable date in the chronicles of the LAC, although not one which you might be able to declare so easily.  It was the first time in twenty five years that John Hartley had not been the route-meister and clerk of course for the Fellsman, John having decided to put the maps away and pass the role to someone else.  That “someone” was our very own Geoff Awde.

Geoff took on the mantle of chief planner and clerk of course with gusto and set about devising a route which started and finished at the Black Bull, Old Langho, and was interspersed with a lunch halt at the Manor Inn, Cockerham. The competing crews once again had a very enjoyable day taking part in this unique event.  The call is for more crews to participate and enjoy this one-day experience and to this end a tulip route book is being offered this year for those who wish to have a go but would rather do so without the plotting and bashing!    On behalf of all concerned, thank you Geoff for all your efforts and long may you continue to nurture this great event for many years to come.

The month of June brought the traditional Manchester to Blackpool Car Run. Now in its 57th year, the event started from its familiar setting of Worsley Old Hall and traversed its way to the Italian Gardens, Blackpool, where the public was treated to the sight of many beautiful cars parked around the garden’s manicured lawn. The weather helped to play its part and all-in-all it was another successful day in the longest running event of its kind in the North West of England.

Within four weeks of the Manchester to Blackpool Car Run entrants had gathered at the Midland Hotel, Morecambe, for the 27th Coast to Coast Classic Tour. A firm favourite of many, the event gets better with each passing year and this is as a result of the route and spectacular scenery which is so pleasing on the eye. The route had been reduced in length so allow for a more measured arrival time at Dunsley Hall Hotel and this was appreciated by many of those taking part.  For those staying overnight there was a chance to unwind and enjoy the company of friends and colleagues before heading for home on Sunday morning.

The efforts of Chris Lee and Sandra Williams are much appreciated by the committee and entrants alike in enabling both the Great Manchester to Blackpool and Coast to Coast Classic Tour to happen, and we thank them both.

August saw the annual Royal Lancashire Show held at Ribchester.  Supported by a core of LAC volunteers during the three day festival, our very own Dennis Walton deserves special mention for being in attendance on each day! Well done, Dennis.

The LAC is always looking at its calendar of offerings and when the opportunity to put on a Taster Event was suggested by Andy Stanworth it was accepted with gratitude.  Andy, and his friend Alan Ridehalgh, had devised similar events as members of the Porsche Owners’ Club and felt that it was something which the LAC could promote to encourage an evening on the roads of Lancashire.  The event stated and finished at Whalley Golf Club, having taken in approximately 50 miles of route, and concluded with a drink and a meal.  The format proved so successful that a Twilight Tour was devised during September and this, too, was just as successful.

On behalf of the LAC committee, I wish to place on record thanks and appreciation to Andy and Alan for their efforts in bringing both events to fruition and to thank those who supported them.

As mentioned earlier, it had been the first time in twenty five years that John Hartley had not been at the controls of the Fellsman and during September Mike Raven was directing operations on his final Highland 3-Day event (although, hopefully, not permanently!)  Mike had decided that he would be taking a leave of absence from the H3D for 2020 but before doing so he put on another cracking event north of the border.  It should be noted once again that all of the event planning, preparation and route working is done by Mike and a dedicated team such that each September crews from far and wide can looked forward to a fantastic time in the Highlands of Scotland.  On behalf of all those who have had the pleasure of taking part in this event, I wish to place on record the appreciation of the LAC and all crews for the unseen efforts by Mike and his team.

For those who need a yearly fix of Scottish scenery and great roads, don’t panic!  Whilst Mike is stepping aside for the time being, the club is very fortunate to have welcomed Peter Ward to the LAC committee and, as someone with considerable experience and interest in rallying and road events, Peter has taken the steering wheel and is developing a new Border Reivers Tour which will run from 18th to 20th September this year.

The completion of the Highland 3 Day brought the LAC’s road calendar to a conclusion for another year.  To fill the gap between the onset of winter and the Christmas festivities the club managed to secure Fuzz Townshend, master mechanic from Channel 4’s Car SOS, as the principle guest at a motor sport supper night.  And so on Thursday 20th November Fuzz attended Whalley Golf Club and talked to a packed house about his life, interests and working on Car SOS. It was another successful evening the type of which the club has become adept at hosting.

And so to Christmas and the annual get together at the Edisford Bridge Hotel where a gathering of 35 enjoyed an intimate meal in cosy surroundings.  Thanks go to Eileen Dyson for organising and to the lucky 35 for supporting this annual get together.

The reputation of any club is built primarily by those who are associated with it and this is certainly true of the LAC.  It is therefore sad to have had to report the deaths of Ted Worswick, Norman Dewis and Peter West during the past twelve months. The LAC is lesser for their passing but we are grateful and thankful that we knew them.

It is also with a heavy heart that we say farewell and best wishes to long standing committee member Alwyn Davis and wife Margaret who are moving to Wiltshire to be nearer their daughter.  As well as being a past Chairman and President, Alwyn was the person who overhauled the club’s document image, both in terms of style and typeface, and this graced many correspondence and forms over the past years. His counsel will be missed by his many friends at the LAC.

We were grateful to welcome three new committee members during the past year, namely Andrew Ogden (who had taken the role of Members’ Representative), Duncan Hopkinson (who is working to put on a Autumn Run later in the year) and Peter Ward (a 3-time Le Jog competitor), each of whom brings individual skills and talents to complement the existing committee.

As you will see from the agenda, there is no mention regarding the election of honorary officers, as in previous years, as the club has recently incorporated a new company which has afforded it the chance to make changes to its Articles of Association, one of which is that the club have four named directors.  The club has also moved to a company limited by guarantee, not by share, hence the need for members to sign the recently issued consent forms. The committee is very grateful for the support of the membership during this transition. A little more about the new company will be discussed further in the meeting.

The club uses its website, in-house magazine All Torque, and e-mail as its primary means of communicating with the membership and interested parties.  As the move to a digital age continues so the club is seeking to use all available platforms to highlight and promote its events.  The editor of All Torque, Jan Butterworth, recently stood down and the committee wishes to place on record it’s thanks to her for her efforts during her tenure.  A vacancy exists for an editor and anyone who feels that they would like to take on the role should contact the club committee.

With regard to All Torque, it is very pleasing to see the articles written by entrants and members alike; it’s your magazine so please put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard and provide articles for others to enjoy.

On the subject of moving with the times, the club, via its webmaster Mike Bennett, is currently looking at the development of an online payment portal linked to its website to enable cashless payment to its various events. More details of this will be provided in due course.

The LAC is very appreciative for the support of its sponsors and supporters without whom it could not deliver its event calendar. We are especially grateful to Bowker BMW & Mini, Blue Butts Chequered Flag, Cardboard Box Company, and Lister Cars for their ongoing backing during the past twelve months as well as being delighted to welcome Footman James Insurance following their recent decision to become a supporter of the club.

It is pleasing to report that your committee, which meets monthly, has had near full attendance during the past year.  The group works tirelessly (mostly unseen) to undertake the necessary work needed to ensure that it can put on events that are both enjoyable and successful.

2020 promises to be another eventful year in the life of the LAC and motor sport in general.  Legislation is changing as are perceptions and attitudes within certain demographics but it must not be forgotten that the motor sport industry and classic car ownership contributes millions of pounds to the British economy, provides employment to thousands of people and is a world leader in developing new technologies.  As a club, the LAC is committed to supporting and enabling motor sport to flourish.  Additionally, by working with the FBHVC and other organisations with similar objectives, it is committed to providing the means of allowing owners of vintage, classic, and cherished vehicles to continue using the roads for their pleasure and enjoyment.

In closing, I would like to thank my fellow committee members for their help and support during the past twelve months and to members of the club for your continued patronage of the LAC.

To save paper and ink, this report will be made available to view via the club website post-meeting.

Martin Wylie

Honorary Secretary

February 2020