Without doubt, this has been acknowledged as the best social function the Club has ever organised for many years.
A total of 312 motor sport and non-motor sport people, including willing Club members who helped on the day, were seated at Stirk House for a three course Sunday lunch. Obviously it wasn’t just the food and dare it be said, drink, that this number came for. It was the chance to meet old friends and more importantly, listen to the Guest Speaker and local hero, Brian Redman. It was the measure of Brian’s popularity that, within three weeks of the tickets going on sale at the beginning of September, the event was a complete sell out. No need to advertise, word of mouth throughout the year ensured the organisers had a reasonably easy time almost two months before the actual event.
Brian was born and brought up in Burnley, but he and his wife Marion, plus two children, left our shores to take up permanent residence in Florida, USA in 1982 – the UK’s loss, America’s gain. Brian has driven with formidable success in F1 and Sports Cars throughout the world, particularly during the 60’s 70’s and 80’s. Over this time, he has accumulated a wealth of interesting experiences. Just over twelve months ago a telephone call was made to his home in Florida inviting him to be Guest Speaker at the 2003 motor Sport Luncheon and relate some of his racing tales. An invitation which thankfully he accepted.
As I mentioned earlier, it was not only the many motor sport, rallying and racing enthusiasts who attended, but also old friends and relations, many travelling great distances, who came along to listen to him and experience the day. It certainly was a great day and the weather helped by being dry and sunny. The sunshine certainly helped, as we had a Gulf GT40 replica and a Chevron B16 on display outside. These two cars were later complimented by an ex Targa Florio 911 Porsche and a couple of new BMW Minis provided by our sponsor, Mini Sport of Padiham. All these vehicles looked magnificent and it didn’t go unnoticed that many envying eyes were being cast over them The doors were open at 10.00am and by 11.00am people were beginning to arrive. By 12.30pm just about everyone had arrived and the job of getting them to their tables began. By about 12.50pm everyone was seated and event organiser, Mike Wood, was called upon to guide Brian and Marion to their table.
Vice President, David Taylor, as always, was the MC for the day and, as is normal at these luncheons, he introduced the various Motor Clubs that were represented and also ex-racing personalities who had come along. Amongst those personalities were, Richard Attwood, winner of the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hour Race. David Piper, 5 times winner of the Kyalami 12 Hour Race. Barrie Williams with sidekick Norman Grimshaw both of giant killing Mini fame. Peter Proctor, ex-Sunbeam and Ford etc works driver. Lady racing driver Helen Malkie, John Burton ex-Chevron driver and a host of local ex-racing drivers such as Keith Francis, Ted Worswick, Geoff Breakell and our own committee member and Vice President, Anthony Taylor, still competing today on Historic events. Just before coffee was served, David Taylor called upon Club President, Alwyn Davis, to give the Loyal Toast. Following this, and as a nice innovation, the President asked everyone to remain standing to give a further toast to the victorious English Rugby Team on winning the Rugby World Cup the day before. This went down extremely well with a loud cheer resounding round the room.
Once the meal was finished and after a short 20 minute break, Mike Wood was called upon to introduce the Guest. For an hour and quarter, it could have gone on longer, Brian held everyone spellbound – no notes, just off the cuff. The stories and humour of past experiences were unforgettable and it was a very sad moment when it all came to an end. A measure of the endearment that everyone present had for him was he received two standing ovations. There have been two previous Motor Sport Luncheons (separated each time by three years) and whilst each event has been its own success story, this is the first time the Guest has had not one, but two standing ovations.
Following Brian’s presentation, it was with regret that Mike Wood had to bring the stage proceedings to a close. In doing so, he thanked Brian for such an entertaining and informative speech. When all the applause had finished and with everyone, more or less settled down, it was onto the raffle draw, with Brian Harper of Mini Sport being called upon to hand out the prizes. Following this, all that remained was Vice President, Chris Lee, being asked to wind-up the whole afternoon on behalf of the Club. He started by introducing a surprise. He called upon Commander Eoin Sloan, of the Porsche Club of GB, to present Brian Redman with his Life Membership of the Club, which they had been waiting to hand over since the 1970’s! Following this, our own President was asked to come forward to present gifts, to Brian and Marion Redman, as momentos of the day. He then asked Mini Sport Chairman, Brian Harper, to say a few words. Finally, after thanking those involved in the organisation, he wished everyone, on behalf of the LAC, for attending, linking this with a Merry Xmas and Happy New Year and a safe journey home.