The event is now getting better known and the Rural Life Centre report that the number of visitors has gone up year on year. The nice thing about the Rally is that no-one complains, but they do say what an enjoyable day they have. The Rally has become an annual event and now includes coaches and classic cars. There are stalls with transport memorabilia and this year we had an exhibition which was very popular.
The highlight for visitors was the chance to have a ride on a vintage bus/coach and this year we operated one tour every 30 minutes! Also available were rides on the steam train plus the museum was fully open. It is a great day out.
As for the Society, the big upset was the discovery that a supposedly
friendly engineer had been massively overcharging us for restoring the Dennis
E engine. It got to the stage where we had to pay out £9640 for a
job that should only have cost £6,000 for the completed engine and
we havent even got a completed engine. I took urgent steps when the
engineer demanded more money to finish the job, possibly several thousand
pounds, and withdrew the engine from his workshop and brought it to the
barn. I have contacted Graham Green who is a very skilled man who has done
much work for us in the past, and he is willing to finish the job off. There
is also a possibility that Graham would be able to also do the Chassis and
I think that we might well be able to finance this as well. If the engine
and chassis are completed under our own steam, then I can go ahead and seek
Heritage Lottery funding for the body. What we need for the body is a very
good carpenter or two, who would be willing to spend a year on the project.
I reckon that it would cost about £26,000 to cover wages and about
£14,000 for timber and that is well under my original estimate. We
will have to wait and see! What I can say is that Graham will not charge
us the ridiculous fees asked by the engineer! I am afraid that we will never
approach this particular engineer again and I will be contacting other firms
who would do our work at a commercial rate.
I must give my thanks to Derek who has taken a great interest in our buses and assists in keeping the two on the road. He is now trying to do a repaint job on 488, bit at a time, so apologies if 488 turns out with a panel in undercoat.
Thanks also to my daughter Sarah who has really got stuck into looking after the stall and producing a very useful income for the Society. Robin is very keen to do his best as Secretary, which is a complete deviation from cutting toe nails, (I couldnt spell Chiropodist!), but he does enjoy the change. I appreciate the support from Laurie, Richard, Phil, Mary and Dave and also Brian Finch in the background. I am hoping to make some slight changes this year, subject to your approval and that is to ask Dave to take on a new position of Service and MOT Manager, and controversially to restore Derek to the position
of Transport Manager and return to the fold as a Trustee. That will be decided towards the end of the AGM. Up to today we had a full barn with a good income coming in, but the blue bus has now gone. Young Derek Kent did give 3 months notice, and was fully paid up. I have re-let the space to a group with an army lorry. I would also like to mention that we now have a permanent conductor available, Gary Baxter. His wife, Dotty, has proven to be excellent on the stall and a great help to Sarah. These two have put themselves out to ensure that the job gets done and have actually booked into a local Travelodge to ensure they are on site on time. I have asked the AGM to consider some remuneration for there hotel costs, which has not been asked for, but I feel that a suitable donation towards their costs would encourage them to continue with the task.
We also have Denis Stevens trained as a conductor and he is very willing, so where possible we have a relief member of staff. Denis has agreed to be nominated as a Trustee of the Society and as a certified electrician would be very useful in keeping our electrics all in good working order. We have three definite drivers with Tony Banton who does Four Marks and we still have scope for another if need be. Regrettably, we have lost our other conductor to religious belief!
And finally, thank you to all our members who stick by us and pay their subs, which again helps to keep the Society viable.
Ray Le Mesurier-Foster (Chairman)
Our Chairman, Ray has some interesting
So, Ray has had his left eye done, it takes 20 minutes and no driving for 2 weeks. Everything is OK and it is a short wait for the right eye to be done. Without going into too much detail, the lens is removed and a new artificial one put back. It is so good that the need to wear glasses is no longer required, except for reading.