Harry’s Birthday Run

As you all know from the last AGM minutes [last newsletter], due to ill health our Club Chairman

Harry Hales has sadly had to resign as the Chairman of our club. In addition, Harry has had to give up driving, including his beloved Ruby.

Harry has been the main “Backbone” of our SWA7C, from before I joined in 1976.

When presented with this news at the Club’s AGM last November, the meeting asked for suggestions of ways we could show Harry, club member’s appreciation, for all his dedication to SWA7C for the past fifty years.

A number of suggestions were made, including; Champagne; Flowers; Chocolates.

The meeting agreed that a very good possibility would be a surprise Austin Seven Run for Harry’s birthday on 21st December. A number of the members present at the AGM agreed to bring their Austin’s to Porthcawl, providing; [a] Harry would be fit enough to participate

[b] The arrangements could be kept secret form Harry.

Being the club member living closest to Harry in Porthcawl, it fell to me to organise the event.

I contacted Jan, Harry’s wife with our proposal for her opinion. Jan was thrilled with the idea, and reported that Harry’s condition had stabilised, due to the correct oxygen supply dosage. Any physical exertion was still beyond Harry, but Jan was sure Harry could manage a short run in an Austin seven, providing he wasn’t the driver and he had his oxygen supply.

Harry duly came down on his chair lift to meet us on his drive, and his surprise and pleasure to see us all and the Austin’s, was overwhelming and very emotional.

After lots of photographs and chatting, we managed to get Harry into the front passenger seat of Ruby, complete with oxygen bottle, Peter driving.

Harry and Jan’s daughter, son-in-law and grand daughters were visiting and we managed to get them all into the Austin’s, and off for a short tour of Porthcawl.

From Harry’s house onto Porthcawl Promenade, up to Rest Bay car park, onto Kenfig Nature Reserve and return to Harry’s home.

Jan had laid on a splendid spread of coffee, tea, mince pies and biscuits and the next hour simply flew by, with Harry in hi spirits. And so the time came to say our good buys.

So, on the 21st December at 11am, five Austin Sevens and one “modern” turned up at Harry’s home, to Harry’s complete surprise. Harry and Jan’s house has a balcony to the front, and when Harry came out onto the balcony to see what was going on, he was greeted with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday”

I have to say, this short trip and get together, was one of the best I have ever attended, the pleasure and enjoyment for everyone there was overwhelming! 

A massive thank you to the Club members who made it possible.

Cars and members; Peter and Harry in Ruby.

Nora and John in RL Saloon

Liz and Howard in Brookfield Special

Roger P in Four Seat Tourer

Chris P in RP Saloon

Stuart and Pat in modern.

PS: Pat was on her first outing following her knee replacement ten days earlier. So well done for effort, Pat.

Also thank you to Glyn Evans our photographer, a friend of club member Simon Leadbeater, Cowbridge, who kindly undertook the photography.

The Centenary Rally. Or the ‘Bash’ 2022

It all started for me, when along with John Williams we attended an A7 Association meeting. Over four years ago now, where the 100 year celebration was discussed, and where would it all happen. Well the A7 centenary committee   eventually decided on the Fire Collage at Morton-on Marsh, in the Cotswold. And what an inspired decision that turned out to be.

 When the day dawned when we able to book our tickets to the event, so that  saw Pat and me up at 12.45 a.m. too book our camping place and trailer parking, and entry tickets. Just as well, as places sold out fast. It was a few months to the event and time seem to go slowly, but the day soon dawned and as Pat and myself along with a number of club member who had also volunteered to help out at the “bash” we were able to arrive at the Fire Collage on the Sunday, too help out.

So, on entry day Tuesday,  saw  Pat myself,   alongside Pat and Sara White, on reception duties booking  in all the A7 folk  while this was going on Howard, Liz, John and Linda were on “meet and Great” duties. And Arthur was on trailer park patrol.

I won’t go on too much, as there will no doubt be more Write up’s on the event in our mag. So I will just mention the high light for Pat and me. The weather was fantastic, hot and sunny the whole week, apart from the morning of Prescott, when it rained just enough to get Pat and myself very wet. Still hay ho. But when we dried out, the spectacle of standing by the Bugatti terrace and watching the A7 works Twin cam and the Rubber Duck/Dutch Clog go up the hill was something I will remember for a long time.

Another high light for Pat and me was meeting up with the family who had bought our RK Saloon, and had driven their RK all the way from Basel, Switzerland. Also all our  club members who were  at the bash all meeting up every night for a few pints and a good natter, and of course all the Austin 7’s that were  on display, many models that I had only seen in photographs.   And the pop up archivist museum, that was put together so well by Hugh and all his team, I could have spent hours in the rooms.  All so very interesting.

Well that’s our take on the Centenary Bash. Great company, great weather, Great nightly entertainment. Topped off with a Spitfire flying display, only one complaint, all over too soon.