Wednesday 21 August
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Throughout the year we attend events and rallies, both on the Island and Mainland. In the past the group have even taken some of their cars over to France for a short break.
In November 2005, the Group were featured in the 'Antiques Roadshow' programme that was recorded on the Island earlier in that year.
Our ladies actively support these activities and are an essential part of our success.
As of March 2019, we now have 95 members and some 40 active partners.
A breakdown of vehicles that we have in the Club (March 2019), shows that there are,
Austin 7s – 47, American Austin – 2, Big 7 – 1, Austin 10 – 26, Other pre-war Austins, e.g. 12/4, 16/6 etc. – 11, Post WW2 Austins – 18.
In addition to the 106 Austins in the Club, between them, members also own 82 other ‘classic’ vehicles.
Another fairly busy month and, during it, we had two weekday visits. On the 16th, 18 of us visited St. Mildred’s Church at Whippingham. This is the church that Queen Victoria used when she was in residence at Osborne House. We had a very enthusiastic guide who introduced us to its history. She told us that it was Prince Albert who redesigned the Church in a style considered to be more suitable for the royal family. She pointed out the many different areas within the church, including the Battenberg Chapel, which is now a memorial to Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice and her husband, who were married and buried here. On the other side was the Royal Pew.
There is so much interesting royal memorabilia within the Church, that were pointed out to us and which we were to view later.
Many of the Queen’s household are buried in the churchyard, along with the parents of Earl Mountbatten of Burma, Prince Philip’s grandparents. Also buried here is Uffa Fox, the famous boat designer and yachtsman, who taught Prince Philip to sail. It was an enlightening visit for us and ended with us having tea and cake in their nearby tea room.
The afternoon visit on July 30th was to Bembridge Fort, with 16 members present. The fort is now owned by the National Trust and stands on Culver Down. Although it was a lot drier, after a very wet morning, the very strong winds continued and that meant that we were not able to be shown the open areas surrounding the fort. Entering the fort, was like being in a wind tunnel! On arrival, we were divided into two groups for the tour, but we could not get away from the wind as many corridors inside had open ends. The guides told us that it is a Victorian fort and was completed in 1867. It formed part of a ring of defences to protect the Island and Portsmouth from the threat of a French invasion. This never happened and no shots were fired in anger. It was subsequently modified through both World Wars resulting in multiple layers of history.
It was used briefly in WW1, and by all three arms of the military in WW2. Some of the remnants from WW2 were pointed out to us during the tour. In spite of the weather, we all had a very interesting and enjoyable time.
Talking to two members recently, they have met people who have made them aware of some old vehicles, none in roadworthy condition, that have recently been found on the Island. One suspects that there are still others residing in outbuildings here.
Finally, please note that there will be a monthly meeting in August, on Monday 26th. This is over the bank holiday and will take the form of a ‘Bring and Buy’ evening. So bring along any surplus car parts, portable household items, books etc. It is suggested that sellers make an appropriate donation to our Charity fund
7th July. This was a day when members could take their pick! At least 8 went to the 750 MC National Austin Seven Rally at Beaulieu, with 4 Austins. As well as admiring the cars there, they bought parts from our cherished suppliers and met up with many old friends. There was also the 40s weekend at the IWSR and several members went along to this. Spotted there was a 'Garage Cameo', featuring an Austin 7 Nippy.
3 of our classics, attended the Classic Car and Bike Show, at Chale. Terry Knight won the 'Best Car in Show' award there, with his 1953 Wolseley Police car.
Only 7 of us went to Godshill, all in moderns except Bryan Shaw who was in his A10/4 Conway. I had intended to use my A35, but as it was raining heavily at home, opted for my modern. It would appear that it was only the east of the Island that suffered. Godshill was dampish and those there had refreshments in the Old Smithy Café before motoring to Yarmouth, to visit the Milbanks. Already parked in their garden were 6 Austins and 4 classics, amongst them were Alan's A12/4 Ascot, RR 20 and Mark VI Bentley. One of the highlights of going there is to visit Alan’s ‘motorhouses’. As well as housing his cars, there is so much interesting motoring memorabilia that he has collected over the years. He had his own Garage business and has been a very active member of the RREC. All is told in his book 'Another Set of Wheels' which you can purchase from him. At lunchtime, we gathered for a picnic under a cloudy sky. Thank you Leslie and Alan for your hospitality. It would appear that those who went to Beaulieu had a much better day, weatherwise.
14th July. A cloudy, but warm day for us. There was a good gathering of members with their cars at Godshill - 14 Austins and 6 classics. Also present, to admire them, was a coachload of German visitors. After exchanging pleasantries, as is the norm, some of us went to the Wakefields for tea/coffee and cakes (there was a splendid selection of them!) and later to consume our own picnics there. Others stayed in the Godshill area for their refreshments. Thank you Billy and Linda for your hospitality.
21st July. Those of us, who went along, had a very enjoyable day at the annual Island Highland Gathering. This year it was held on the site of the Roman Villa, near Brading and we were part of the Classic Car movement on the Island who were invited to attend.
The weather was good but I don’t think the organizers expected so many cars to attend. As a result, the parking tended to be a bit haphazard! However, we had a good presence with 14 Austins and 3 classics on show and these created a lot of interest for visitors.
Shortly after arriving, several of us had refreshments in the Café at the Roman Villa. After the traditional 'Address to the Haggis', we were entertained by four Pipe Bands, three from the Mainland, traditional dancers, and other bands including the 'Wight Hot Pipes', after their debut at Glastonbury.
28th July. Another good day, with acceptable temperatures, after the recent very hot weather.
Car wise, we had another very good turnout of members and cars, with 16 Austins and 7 classics at Godshill. We were pleased to see Trevor Bonner-Williams there, as last Monday he was rushed to Hospital with a suspected heart attack and was only discharged yesterday. His wife, Sheila drove him over. He will have to take things carefully, so no more driving for Trevor for a while. We all hope that he makes good progress in the weeks ahead.
From Godshill, the majority of us went to the home of Stan and Carolyne Brading, near Whitwell, to have refreshments and, later, a picnic there. They have a lovely garden with plenty of room for the 15 cars that went along.
In the end, we had the largest picnic gathering of the year. Before tucking in, Carolyne came around offering us a glass of Pims.
It was another great social gathering in beautiful surroundings. We thank Stan and Carolyne for being so hospitable.

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