NORTH OXFORDSHIRE AND COTSWOLDS AREA REPORT WINTER 2015.
A big downside of receiving my Windscreen magazine is knowing that I only have a short time to complete the next Area report. With the move from four magazines to six it is going to get a lot harder to keep up. I keep promising myself that I will start writing the next one as soon as I submit the previous one. Not happened yet, but maybe this time.
Anyway, what a fantastic season we have had. The weather has been great and we have had some outstanding events to go to. It has probably been one of our most successful years. I cannot possibly list every show that members have attended or organised but here are a few highlights:
Once again the USAF invited us to their base at RAF Craughton to bring some vehicles to help celebrate Independence Day. Members were able to provide four Jeeps, two Land Rovers, a Champ, a Gaz and Ians BRDM which all created much interest. It is good to be able to establish strong relationships like this with the local military community as it can pay dividends. Of course, it is not just the Americans we help. RAF Brize Norton is a local base to us and many members supported the Brize Norton family day and the Battle of Britain dining in night. At the latter the area members observed a demonstration of a night time container drop and were able to compare the capabilities of new and old type uniforms when standing up to infra red binoculars. While a Merlin helicopter was flying around in the dark it was commented that it was very quiet. Come stay in my house where two of them practice landing in the field across the road in the middle of the night once a week. Not so blooming quiet then I can reassure you.
It is good that our vehicles are in such demand but sometimes we have to make difficult choices as to which events we should support. We will certainly have no difficulty in knowing whether or not to support an event at a certain pub in Wroxton. We were asked to support a historic vehicle day at this pub to raise money for charity. On arrival we were directed to a muddy field across the road so as “not to put off my regular customers”. Those who did attend were treated with a great deal of disdain and not even offered a free coffee or tea. Not particularly behaviour conducive to making us ever want to come back especially when you consider how interested in our vehicles the public were.
In July several members with their vehicles attended the Coys charity auction at Blenheim Palace to raise money for the Royal Marines charity. Don took David Kings Jeep which he had restored with David while Tony King brought Davids old parabike (which had been Davids first restoration) and parked the two together. Tony and Don were thrilled to find that the Jeep with bicycle won the prize for best military vehicle. Tragically David passed away a few years ago, but this was a small tribute to his memory. David would have been pleased.
Brian took Michaels Bedford MW to this show and while there was approached by someone from the Goodwood Festival of Transport inviting him to that event. They both took the MW to Goodwood for the weekend which they greatly enjoyed, although, if early reports are to be believed one of them apparently snores quite loudly.
John had arranged a tour of the vehicles and artillery at the Defence Academy at Shrivenham. Unfortunately, not many members were able to attend this fascinating location but I understand that everyone enjoyed themselves.
The highlight of the year has been our “Greedy Goose” weekend which involved one of Bill excellent kings road runs followed by a day of off roading in a local quarry. This was a new event for us and a major success. With not enough room to write about it in the Area report there is a separate article elsewhere in the magazine. We plan to repeat the event next year over the 15th and 16th of August.
To finish off the season Tony announced that we all had been invited to a “Tops in Blue” concert. Not knowing what this entailed and having survived a near death experience following my daughters explanation of burlesque dancing to my wife I was a little bit wary of attending. However, once Tony had clarified that this was a concert put on by the USAF for their personnel and their families around the globe and which comprised music, singing and dancing I thought it would be safe to take the whole family. The concert took place in one of the hangers at Fairford to a packed house (including most of the Area members) and I was blown away by the level of professionalism by the performers who were all serving USAF personnel. The performers change every year and embark on a tour around the globe from Afghanistan, Japan, Germany, Greenland, the Azores and all across the United States. It is not easy for the general public to attend these events being for the members and family of the USAF, but we had assisted them in their commemoration events throughout the year so were on the invitation list. A great way to finish off what has been a superb Summer.
All the best
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