The Annual Dinner of Chester Motor Club was held on September 21st 2017 in the Long Room, Eaton Estate, Ecccleston, A good night was had by all who attended , despite the interruption of the fire alarm which caused an evacuation during the dinner, This was the first time that the fire alarm had activated during an event, and the Staff at Eaton Estate where very complimentary about the way the attendees evacuated, Robin Parker (Chairman) would like to express his thanks to the team of Richard Jones, Nick Venables, Geoff Ingram, Steve Walker and Matthew Jones without whom the event would not have happened
Dinner Report (Edmund Waterhouse)
The Chester Motor Club held its annual reception and dinner on 21 September 2017. Once again members and their guests were indebted to His Grace the Duke of Westminster for his hospitality at Eaton Park, where we were made to feel most welcome.
We gathered on a dry but slightly chilly evening. As we made our way through the courtyard to the Long Room we were offered a glass of champagne or orange juice. With glasses charged, several of us were distracted by the armoured car whose machine gun was aimed only a little above our heads. One of the company was seen entering the car – no mean feat for a pensioner – but failed to cause either the gun or the engine to fire. Even in repose the beautiful Rolls Royce engine drew much admiration.
Progress was further held up by the Delage standing next to the armoured car. An engine and chassis dating from 1924 had been mated to a coachbuilt body some 60 years older (possibly more), providing enclosed seating for six or more people behind the driver. Both vehicles were in superb well-maintained condition.
Many of the ladies, perhaps slightly less enthralled by the charms of these vehicles, had already found their way to the warmth of the Long Room. From there members and their guests progressed into the Wolf Room where our tables awaited us, already adorned with a variety of delightful wines generously provided by Dean Butler, Robin Parker and Nick Venables. The room was further adorned by the flowers provided by Margaret Measures.
The grace was said and Stephen Walker proposed the Loyal Toast. Table by table we were invited to load our plates from the excellent array of dishes laid out by the caterers. Enjoyment of the meal was however interrupted by the sound of the fire alarm. Having already been informed that no fire drill was planned, we understood that we needed to leave the room promptly. The large doors of the Wolf Room were swiftly opened and all left in prompt and orderly fashion, moving to the collecting point where a roll call was begun. News of a false alarm came swiftly and the company returned to their dining tables.
Nothing sharpens the appetite more than to be separated in mid-forkful from one’s meal. Accordingly, once reunited with our plates, the buzz of conversation was quietened while we all savoured the delights of the table. This took a little time.
The Toast Master, Richard Jones, then called us to order as he invited Dean Butler, the Club’s Vice President, to propose a toast to the guests, a service which he performed handsomely. He was followed to the microphone by Dr Craig Horner, Senior Lecturer of Manchester Metropolitan University. Dr Horner spoke engagingly about his research into early cycling and motoring in the UK and in particular summarised the life of Selwyn Francis Edge, former cycling and motoring champion. Born in Australia in 1868, Edge is now perhaps best known for winning the 1902 Gordon Bennett Cup in a Napier. Edge and Napier had become friends through their shared love of cycling and carried their friendship through into motor car manufacture. Edge sold his business to Napier in 1912 on condition that he (Edge) did not involve himself in motor car manufacture for seven years. After that time, Edge took a controlling interest in AC cars and was on the boards of other car companies.
Replying to Dr Horner, local boy Charlie Williams described his experiences as a motor bike racer over his long and distinguished career. His accounts of the Isle of Man TT races vividly conveyed the excitement of racing – for example, when finding the one line through a corner which could be taken at full throttle. The frustrations of sponsorship were also well covered: missing his position at the start of a TT race because of travel difficulties. We felt we were with him on that journey from Italy.
Finally, Rachel Ingram spoke from the heart about the work of the St Rocco’s Hospice which has provided dignified care for so many people over the years including our own Peter Evans, who died there. Last year’s charity collection raised nearly £700 for the Hospice.
The announcement that the table collections for this year’s charity, Cancer Research UK, exceeded £700 earned a round of applause.
As we said our farewells we reflected again on a delightful evening spent in the company of good friends, and were conscious again of our gratitude to His Grace the Duke for hosting our annual dinner. Already we look forward to the next – on 27 September 2018.
Planning is going ahead for a scatter rally to be held date to be confirmed, covering map 117 only, further details to be confirmed, but planning to start and finish at a local hostelry
Chester Motor Club has an experienced rally timing crew, running all rally timing controls for stage and classic events and are being invited to provide this service at more events each year, If you want to join the team please let Richard Jones know, Full training provided with an experienced crew , watch this space for further information
NEW WEB SITE
The Chester Motor Club web site www.chestermotorclub.co.uk is currently undergoing total rewrite using new software and new content, hopefully the new site will launch in the near future, any content photographs etc welcomed, please sent to Richard Jones
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