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Cotswold Caper 2006

June 11th 2006, in line with orders from the Gloucestershire MG Owners Club, the sun shone all day and we had a super 30 year Club Celebration with the re-establishment of the COTSWOLD CAPER Run.  With the start at Stroud Stratford Park Leisure Centre, the scene of 115 MG cars all polished  and lined up ready for the OFF was magnificent.

masonMark Cummings, the early morning presenter for Radio Gloucestershire, waved away the first twelve or so cars commencing at 10 o’clock----- a late morning start for Mark !!!   Thank you Mark for sacrificing your Sunday morning, but we suspect you really wanted to interview the Club’s new  “Celebrity” John Child, together with the English / American Dave Abel  who had transported his Left-hand drive MGB Roadster from Florida.  A book could be written about the travels the MG underwent involving wrong ports and changed crates. Solicitors and many telephone calls eventually ensured it arrived just in time.

However, Mark’s compensation was at hand with a kiss and hug from his favourite fan. Rumour has it that the paparazzi have photos and are prepared to sell them for 2p each. We managed to get all the cars away in ¾hour and it was reported later there were no serious hold-ups in the many small villages we suggested the entrants visit.

The organisers, Graham, John and Tony, had selected many different roads from small lanes (sump cleaners) to “A” roads taking everyone round the popular tourist traps in the Cotswold Hills. paddyThere were no mountains or seas but the scenery of rolling hills was breathtaking on this nice sunny day. The suggested route passed through many pretty villages which prompted remarks “we will have to return and really explore our favourites”. Among the more memorable were Bourton on the Water, The Slaughters, Rissington, Burford and Bibury; all worthy of second visits. With so many attractive pubs on the way, there was no need for an official lunch stop. After the last car left --- Peter in his MG Y Type volunteered to check there were no stragglers or breakdowns on the route ---- that was until his own car stopped with the well-known MG fault;  a non-ticking fuel pump. A light tap with a 7lb sledge hammer remedied the fault !!!

With so many cars entered, the Raffle was a great success with the girls raising the magnificent sum of over £500.   Remember, all monies collected went to the Club’s nominated Charities namely The Gloucestershire Prostate Cancer (Brachytherapy Unit) Trust and The Cheltenham and North Cotswold Branch of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. It was with great pleasure that Air Vice Marshall  Tony Mason and Alan Walker, respectively from our two Charities, were able to attend  and made welcome by  our past Chairman, Steve Powers.  

raffleAt the finish at Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, we were given permission to allow entry to the Concourse at the special fee of half price for the driver and the passenger went free. This was irresistible for such a wonderful place even for non- bird lovers and deserves a full day’s visit. All the paraphernalia was re-erected ready for the first car, which arrived just after 4 hours, much to the relief of those who had sussed out the route. In the meantime, to keep us lubricated, Trevor served out “hop-oil” from the fridge in his Passion Wagon, sorry Brewery Dray, sorry Utility Vehicle. This was much appreciated. The Marshalls were all allocated their positions but a certain two, who shall remain nameless, insisted that they were entitled to a Lunch Break of over5 minutes under the terms of Health and Safety Rules as interpreted by “Help the Aged”. After an emergency Committee meeting, we agreed to their demands, provided they stayed in their allocated positions till the last car arrived. Two failed to finish !! Two surprises awaited the Organisers, the first was Mrs. Price, Chair of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, who drove into Slimbridge in her MG Midget and the second was two sisters from South Africa, one of which owned a MG car and forsook the visit to the Wildfowl Park preferring, of course, to gloat and admire the many MG’s that for her, had unexpectedly turned up. Turning our thoughts to some of the background work completed by the Organisers, the production of the Route Guide was perhaps the biggest decision, when we decided to produce it ourselves. John volunteered to produce the Master Copies, whilst the others went door knocking for adverts, donations and prizes for the raffle. We were very fortunate to have  Willans Solicitors as the Main Sponsors together with  the support of many companies and individuals. Several people remarked that the Tulip Diagrams in the Rally Guide were easy to follow.   Well done John Child!!Altogether a very enjoyable day, raising money for two very worthy causes; well organised by Graham and his team, their stalwart wives and the many volunteer helpers. It will be a hard act to follow but hopefully,-----next year------!!         

enddayWith entries exceeding the number  we allowed, many  were disappointed at not being able to run-------------book early for 2007, if Graham and his team can be coerced.

The “volunteered” Cotswold Caper Committee of Graham, John and Tony would like to thank all Helpers for their assistance in making this event a success.

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