Having now spent 12 years as Chairman of this Society, now into my 13th, maybe I should reflect on what I do as Chair during the course of a year.
I started the year by continuing having meetings at the RLC to finalise the application for Heritage Lottery funding, this being to provide a museum of Aldershot & District history and storage for our artefacts. This took a lot of time up until just before Easter when the application went in. Not only involved with visits to the RLC but also to Woking Heritage Centre and also copying hundreds of sheets of information and finally two complete copies of the application.
I had meetings over the year with the ADBIG Committee of which I am a member and also the ADORRS Committee of Trustees. On top of this I was involved with the organisation of the ADBIG Running Day held at Farnham at the end of May. I attended all the events we operated, driving, conducting or helping with the stall. I attended with 488 KOT at Kingston Voluntary Roadshow and received a lot of publicity from this event.
I attended the Restoration Barn at Milland helping to restore 462 and I was also negotiating with Sebastian Marshall regarding the Dennis E Project, finding drawings essential to the project and recovering the parts we had stored. I was continuously receiving phone calls for future events and trying to fit in places for 488 to visit. I was negotiating with members to consolidate the arrangements for the Running Day.
I spent some time in the last quarter of the year trying to rescue the RLC Project after the HLF bid was refused. This involved meetings at the RLC and talks with RLC members as to the way forward. I have had to report to both committees on the progress or lack of, with the project.
I have had to ensure that all the spaces at the barn were fully occupied and as we had lost two buses, I had to negotiate for two new buses. I had to ensure that there was a future at the barn so I negotiated a five year extension to the Lease. I had to ensure that the electricity was fully paid and that any supplies of equipment or items like paint and filler were in stock and readily available.
I negotiated with a brilliant vintage bus electrician to do the electric's
on 462. I have been going to the Crescent Centre in New Malden assisting
Michael to make the seats for Peter's coach. I made several visits to Chawton
to arrange vinyl's for 462 including the huge illuminated sign advert.
Before I get any further, let me straight away thank 'the team' for all their efforts in the past year to keep the Society moving forward. And a special thanks to Brian, who is having a problem getting his blood to circulate and we all wish him the very best of attention and a quick recovery.
Progress With 462 EOT
Work on restoring 462 EOT back to a working vehicle is progressing slowly. We are at a point where we need to complete one job before the next one can be undertaken. Painting the top half with gloss light green top coat has to be done before the windows can go back in. All the windows have been stripped down and cleaned ready for insertion. But, the completion of the top deck interior can't be done until the windows are in! We have the two headlights and some welding work has been done to refurbish them, they certainly look good now. The exhaust system has been removed. This has 'surface rust' that can be removed, then painted and can go back on. Some parts will need renewing however. All the panels are now back on and the Perspex for the illuminated sign has been obtained and the advert put on. As the warmer weather arrives we can have better days at the barn!
Latest Bus into The Depot
We were thrilled when Steven Hubbuck wanted to rent the spare space at the barn. This wonderfully restored bus has a history behind it that is a pleasure to unravel. Bought with four others to transport Russian Jews from Eastleigh Railway Station to "Atlantic Park", a series of Nissan huts that you would now know as Southampton Airport. The Russians were en route to the USA and Canada and eventually had to be taken to Southampton Docks for their onward journey - again by bus. About 4,000 a week were sent from 1921 to 1929. The Contract came to a sudden close when Southern Railway built a 'Halt' and the train could do the lot. Stoneham Motors went bust and the buses disposed of. This one ended up near Ringwood and has taken 23 years to restore. The wheels have gone away for new tyres to be fitted.
The first part of the project is to get the chassis up and running. The second part will be to construct a good original body by using the Strachan and Brown bodies on the other buses. Possibly our best shot is to get one running. We have £2500 in the kitty so far and only another £7500 to go. We will be looking for a grant from the Prism Fund, 50% of the cost.
We get donations of books, models and magazines and many other bus related items and these sell quite well on the stall.
Sarah will always welcome any member who would like to help her run the stall at events. The next big event is Cobham Bus Gathering and we will be at Wisley Airfield with the stall and bus. We could take £500/£600 at this venue. Basingstoke and Tilford in May could be good too.
Outings This Year
All members are welcome to come to the Barn at Milland, whether to view or give a hand. No job is beyond any member and simple tasks like sweeping the leaves that occasionally blow in all helps.
If you would like to come and see us or help, please call 02083984624 before the day to see if anyone will be there.
The farm is a nice quiet place, the birds sing and the sun shines (sometimes). Lovely fresh air!