The Candles Charity Run

As with most runs, what is there to say except it went jolly well!  On this occasion, however, I think that would be underselling the efforts of the team behind it!

Over the last few years, West Cheshire MGOC (0215) has established itself to a point where we have a core group of around 20 or more members that regularly attend the monthly meetings.  Part of the attraction as a group is that we have no formal structure which has resulted in regular compliments that we’re a friendly bunch.  More like a disorganised bunch, but keen anyway!  We have “Chairman” John Jones, our founding Area Secretary.  Then there’s the rest of us doing stuff.  Managing the bank account, the Facebook page, a website and then booking for shows, organising small, local runs or the annual Summer Barbeque!  None of this is formalised, it just gets done thanks to the efforts of the volunteers.

When Neil Wallace approached us last year about organising a charity event, a few of us had muttered something about doing an annual run for charity, taking the excellent Snowdon Run as a role model.  But none of us had done anything on that scale.

Photo Links:

The photographs can be found on Flickr:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinzt/sets/72157653361333182

https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinzt/sets/72157651050812073

https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinzt/sets/72157650731150654

Needless to say, with the usual blind enthusiasm, a small team of volunteers began in September last year (2014) discussing options and meeting monthly to discuss progress.  By January, we were ready to roll complete with a route planned, a web page and a registration form; and a vague hope we might attract 100 cars.  A lot has to happen, though, contacting potentials sponsors, begging for raffle prizes, and dealing with registrants and payments.  Closer to the time, there’s the packing of the participant goody bags, printing and binding of the route books and completion certificates, and a host of last minute arrangements with the key businesses and dignitaries involved.

In the end, 82 cars left the start point on the morning of the 10th of May.  No small feat!  Obviously, it wasn’t all plain sailing; two weeks before we discovered there would be a road closure on a rail crossing right outside Chester, so set the start back by 30 minutes to allow for it re-opening.  Then the day before the run, it was discovered there a major diversion in place, which lead to frantic printing and insertion of new route details in the route books.

The run was in support of the Lord Mayor’s charity, “Chester Aid to the Homeless” which was sponsored by Lancaster Insurance and local “Classic Friendly” specialist, John Woods Motorcare. 

Despite the weather of the week before, the sun broke out on Sunday morning as all the cars gathered at the Chester Castle Car Park where the Town Crier was on hand to call the good folk to attention to introduce the then Lord Mayor of Chester, Councillor Bob Rudd, who spoke about the good work of the charity.  Thanks to the Landlord of The Golden Eagle pub across the road, bacon butties and coffee got everyone fuelled up for the day.

The first car, a 1933 MG J2, was waved off, followed by a good mix of T-Types, As, Bs, Cs, a brace of Midgets, and then Fs and TFs, with a mix of ZRs, a ZS and a number of 6s and 3s.  A few casualties before the day meant that we also had a few “cousins” on the run, too, with a 1935 Wolseley New Hornet, a 1948 Morris 10, a 1951 Riley RMA and a 1970 Jaguar E-Type FHC. 

The route was approximately 80 miles, passing over Hope Mountain, onto The Boathouse at Ellesmere, then an afternoon stop at The Candles Workshop in Burwardsley, finishing up at The Bhurtpore Inn in Aston.  A number of participants commented favourably on the mix of roads.

John Woods Motorcare provided a great support service following on at the rear in the garage’s MG6 packed with spares that came in handy for a few of the entrants and apart from one of the T-Types suffering brake failure, all successfully completed the run, with the furthest entrants, Mr & Mrs Riddett, travelling up from West Sussex in their MGB GT V8.

With all the positive feedback, West Cheshire MGOC are hoping to repeat the success in 2016 and establish this as an annual event.  To quote one of the participants, Mr Vernon Smith, “The organisation was superb and the route fantastic.  One of the best we have done. (We started with the Kimber run in 1992!)”

The final amount raised for the charity was over £2,100 and the organisers would like to thank everyone for their support for what turned out to be a great day.  See you all next year!