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  HomeCaper

 

Cotswold Caper Sunday

1st July 2018

Main Sponsor

CLEARWATER CARS

Main MG Dealer

Bristol Rd

Gloucester
GL2 5DN

Sub-sponsor


Regent Street Garage


Regent Street


Stonehouse
GL10 2AD

 


Here is a link to the photographs taken on the day. You can download the pictures from the Caper Here

We held our first Caper Event 12 years ago in 2006. Since then it's been an annual event raising over £46,000 for local charities.


Consequently the 13th had a reputation to live up to, particularly following our record breaking Caper last year, so we knew the stakes were high. We wanted to head to the north of the County this year as we had taken a route to the south last year. When the Caper Committee sat down in October last year to start planning this year’s route, the most important item on the Agenda was to decide on the venue. After some discussion, the suggestion was made to go back to Seasons Conference Centre, which is north west of Cheltenham, and had been used as our venue 2 years previously in 2016. This had proved to be an excellent base, with the only real restriction being the capacity of the car park. Consequently, we decided to restrict the entry to 150 cars, which was slightly less than the 163 we had last year, but we felt would be more manageable.


With the venue decided and the general area of the route to be covered decided, the hunt was on for the mid-point stop. The key criteria for this is that it must have a car parking area capable of handling a large number of cars in wet or dry conditions and of course have refreshment and toilet facilities. In addition, it must be in the general area we wanted to cover and lie roughly half way round the route. After checking a number of venues, ‘The Valley’ services on the edge of Evesham was chosen. They were keen to help us, and even provided a dedicated parking area and a Garden Voucher for our raffle.
Having decided these essential components, Paul was let loose again to choose a route. His aim was to find a route that was not too long, consisting of a mixture of minor roads and main roads to provide some variation.


 

 

The one remaining component of the run was to choose which charity we would support this year. This is always based upon local charities that are nominated by the membership and voted for, again by the membership, at our October meeting. The winner was The Great Western Air Ambulance, which had been instrumental in saving the life of one our members after a serious accident and helping another member, which probably had some influence on the voting.


 

The Great Western Air Ambulance is a charity which is unsupported by any government funding or taxpayers’ money. It has recently expanded to cover North Gloucestershire with its helicopter based in Filton and shortly to move to Almondsbury. We never know when we will need to use the air ambulance service for ourselves, our children, grandchildren or other relatives and friends. The attendance of the air ambulance at an emergency can make the critical difference between surviving or not. They aim to get to every patient within the golden hour and usually succeed. On average, they attend 5 incidents each day and attended 1,735 incidents in 2016.


 

 

We sent out emails around the turn of the year to previous entrants and set up the Caper page on our website and waited to see the response. As the months passed, we heard of other events being well down on entrants and weren’t sure if we would be likewise affected. However, we needn’t have worried; we had a steady flow of application forms right up to the week before the event and finished up with 146 entrants.


 

With a run of record breaking weather commencing in June, we all held our breath and hoped it would last for the day of the Caper. Again, we needn’t have worried – the day dawned bright and sunny and the sun kept on shining all day. As one participant put it ‘We could have turned the thermostat down a bit’!


 

Anyone who has been to a run will know that part of the ritual is normally to have a tea or coffee along with a bacon buttie after registering. This was the plan at Seasons, however due to a mix-up there was only 1 member of staff on duty to man the bar and make the teas, coffees and butties. A queue was beginning to form, but fortunately help was on hand. One of our pink ladies was a qualified caterer and she was able to step into the breach until help arrived.


 

 

There soon began a steady flow of cars arriving – we had 126 entrants turn up on the day. With all the participants safely parked and registered, having avoided any mishaps with a few well placed humps, it was soon time to send everyone off on their way. Our friends from the Air Ambulance did the honours, with Richard shedding a few pounds as he sweltered in the mascot’s outfit of Charlie the Critical Care Bear. It wasn’t long before his colleague Steve had to lead him away before he needed treatment for heat exhaustion himself! One of our Marshall’s asked if he would like us to call the Air Ambulance! He then stepped in to wave the cars off. He found that the first couple of cars to leave were a bit confused whether to turn left or right, as they couldn’t see a roundabout ahead.  He later realised that both co drivers were starting the route from junction 65 (the half way point on the route) as that also states to zero your trip!


 

 

 

The route headed out to Tewkesbury, where unfortunately some entrants met an unexpected diversion. Despite our best efforts, we were not aware there was going to be an Armed Forces Day Parade through the town, which necessitated closing the High Street.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Heading out over the Mythe Bridge, designed by Thomas Telford, the route soon went into Worcestershire crossing Common Land, then taking in the Malvern Hills before entering Great Malvern. From there the route went on towards Upton-upon-Severn crossing back over the River Severn.
Pershore was next, famous for its Plum Festival held annually in August followed by Evesham, the half-way stop, reached via picturesque Little Comberton and Elmley Castle. As mentioned earlier, we had been given exclusive access to a separate car park for our cars, which was a bonus; the only downside being it wasn’t the best surface for a picnic. Our Marshalls at the stop were so keen to ensure all entrants found the car park that they even ushered in 2 MGs that weren’t part of the run! However, it may result in them joining our club as they were very interested in the event and the club.
Recognising that everyone would have driven 58 miles at this stage, Paul tried to use faster roads for the 2nd half of the run to avoid further driver fatigue. After leaving Evesham, the route headed back into Gloucestershire through Weston-sub-Edge, where the earliest ‘Olimpick’ Games were held from 1612. The beautiful market town of Chipping Campden and village of Broad Campden were then passed before heading through Cutsdean, where the successful jockey Jonjo O’Neill has his training facility.
The route then headed through Temple Guiting, crossed a ford and skirted Winchcombe before passing Cleeve Hill, the highest point in the Cotswolds. It was just a short run from there back to the starting point at Seasons Conference Centre.


 

 

We weren’t able to provide Cream Teas this year, however it turned out to be very fortunate that we had arranged for an Ice-Cream Van to be around for those returning, as they did a roaring trade.
Having cooled off with an ice-cream or a drink from the bar, raffle tickets checked, and prizes collected for the lucky prize winners, it was time for everyone to disperse – either back home or for another night away in the Cotswolds.


 

The Marshalls spent a considerable amount of time in the sun, morning and afternoon, so they made sure they applied plenty of sun block throughout the day. We had one entrant whose car needed a bump start to get going before going home. It was after getting them started that one Marshall realised he still had sun block on his hands when helping to push. He apologised to the owner, who quickly wiped the offending marks off before heading home, pleased that we had got them started.
As we waved everyone off, we received numerous compliments, one even thanking us for arranging a fly-past of The Red Arrows, which made the whole day worthwhile.


With all the raffle money counted, together with donations, advertising and sponsorship fees plus the entry fees, the total amount raised this year is a very creditable £5,000 to be donated to the Great Wester Air Ambulance at our September Club Meeting. This brings the total raised over our 13 years to £51,000.


We would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone who took part on the day. To all our magnificent helpers and members who donated prizes, who made the day such a success. Also to everyone who entered and hopefully had an enjoyable day.

As I mentioned, this was our 13th event. It started 12 years ago and was instigated by Graham Bignall, John Child and Tony Child, our Committee members, who organised it for 5 years. John Rose then worked with John Child for the following year. John Rose then took over the reins and ran it for 4 years, followed by Trev Panter who has organised it for the last 3 years. Along the way they have been ably assisted by Steve Wood and Rob Ayland, who devised the route between them for 4 years. They have been succeeded by Paul Drewett, assisted by his wife Margaret, who have worked on the generation of the route for the past 3 years.


I must also include our team of helpers who have done such a magnificent job over the years. Chiefly our renowned ‘Pink Ladies’ who run the Registration process so efficiently and mercilessly sell the raffle tickets. Then there is our team of Marshalls, including those at our half-way stops, with the ‘big hands’. They get everybody in and parked quickly and then despatch them again very effectively. We even created a new role of ‘Shepherd’ this year. Despite there being no sheep in the section between Temple Guiting and Charlton Abbots when the run was being tested, on the final dry run the previous day, the sheep had appeared! Consequently, we gave 4 of our helpers a shepherd crook and despatched them off to the gated section to assist with the opening and closing of the gates. We had many appreciative comments regarding our helpers from people as they were leaving at the end of the day and it’s good to know their assistance and friendly manner is recognised.


 

 

 

 

Finally, as one Caper finishes, the planning for the next one begins, and this year is no different. So make a note in your diaries for next year’s Caper date the 30th June 2019 – we hope to see you then!

 

 

 

 

 

 

To check the list of current entrants please go to Caper entrants list

To see the previous Capers please click 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 2014, 2015 ,2016 or 2017

 

 

 

 

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