Friday 25th November, 2019
As you will know by now this was our 7th Reunion since the first one which was held in 2001 in the RSAC Club in Glasgow. Up to now, all of the past Reunions have been in and around the Glasgow, mainly because our founders were rally-folk from that part of Scotland. We now have many members from much further afield and It was felt that this latest Reunion should be held closer to the east and particularly the north-east. After a fair bit of research we settled on the above Dunblane Hydro Hotel as the venue.
This move has had a double-edged sword effect! We certainly have attracted a few members from the North-East but there has been a slight drop in numbers from the south and west. There are possibly a few reasons for this which we hope to investigate before the next Reunion.
We finally had 100 members with partners signed up to come along but there were a couple of last minute retirals due to illness. So we started with 96 people (see the entry list below). We did have a number of apologies from members who could not attend. The entry included our main sponsor Sir Boyd Tunnock and his wife Anne. Boyd had helped VSMA in many ways over the years, for which we are very grateful.
The event start with “Signing-on”, and a Reception from 6.0pm. Thereafter we had dinner the the Hotels Strathmore suites.
Our principal Guest this time was Brian Culcheth and his wife Sheila. Brian would have been well know to our rally members. Other guest included Stephen Scott, his wife Jane and their son Ewan. Stephen runs the large family business Gleaner Oils from Elgin.
I must give my sincere thanks to our “resident ” VSMA photographers, Margaret Smillie and Sandy Morrison who provided several hundred photographs taken at the Reunion, of which only a few have been used for this article.
We had all been saddened by the very recent death of our Vice-President Andrew Cowan. Just prior to has admission to hospital and his subsequent death, Andrew had insisted that his London to Sidney Hillman Hunter Rally car should be brought to the Reunion as he had promised.
We had arranged for rally cars and photographic display boards to be installed in the function suite during the afternoon of the event. In addition to Andrew’s car, Chris Paton had brought along his immaculate Mini-Cooper S, and Robin Hamilton had brought his Metro 6R4 rally car for display. We had carefully measured the entrance doors into the venue so that the cars could be brought in. Measurements had been taken on two occasions, just to be sure the cars could get in. As it turned out there was quite a struggle with the Metro – In fact both off-side wings and the door had to be removed to allow the car to be edged into the venue. Robin fortunately was quite happy for this to be done and have the car rebuilt, plus going through the whole process in reverse the following morning. The end result can be seen in the attached photographs.
John Brownie had also brought his rally Opel which was parked just inside the rear entrance to the Hotel’s function suite for all to see. In addition Charlie Young and Jack Davidson had arranged the erection of display boards holding numerous motorsport images which were of great internet to all present.
Some of the photos on the display Boards
Signing-on and Reception:
As per usual this was a very friendly and noisy affair, as members renewed acquaintances, old and new.
This commenced with Boyd Tunnock giving the Celtic grace.
Here are a few photographs taken during dinner.
Following dinner Chairman Jimmy McInnes said a few words prior to introducing our principal guest, Brian Culcheth, who is a well known character in Motor Sport having begun rallying in 1960, he retired the end of the 1979 season. Probably best known for his long association as a works driver with BMC/British Leyland. He considers these his most notable achievements – 2nd Overall in the 16,500 mile London-Mexico World Cup Rally, Class win in Finland’s 1000 Lakes (the first ever by a non Scandinavian driver) and winning his class in all seven rounds of the 1978 British Open Rally Championship for Opel.
He has competed in 112 International rallies through 53 countries and also had works drives for BMC, Opel, Mercedes, Lotus, Rootes, Triumph and Rover pre BL days.
A great supporter of British Motor Clubs and during his career spent a considerable amount of time travelling all over the UK giving after dinner speeches and talks on his experiences to motor club gatherings.
He worked from within the British Leyland International Marketing Division who funded the BL rally programme for 1973 and 74. He was a Member of the BL new model development committee 1976/77
Click on any of the images provided by Brian Culcheth to enlarge
A brief summary of Brian’s Motorsport Successes >>- – Brian Culcheth’s MS CV
The Vote of Thanks was given by Bob Baillie with especial thanks to those who had arranged the Displays and the exhibits of Rally Cars.
Some extra Photographs take during dinner
have been received from the following non-starters
Sorry, I won’t be able to attend.
Iain Bennie, Milngavie
It was a delight to have your invitation and warm reminder of occasions now long gone. Unfortunately I am too immobile these days to be able make such an event with any confidence. So I hope you will understand why I am declining. My warmest good wishes to all.
Andrew Bruce, The Earl of Elgin & Kincardine
Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to make it. So, regrets, I am sorry to say but best wished for a good event.
Eric Dymock, Lincoln
I am not going to be attending the 7th Reunion. Life is kinda hectic at the moment.
Marilyn Jack, Bothwell
Sorry not able to attend the Reunion this year as we are down south at a Championship dog show.
Jamie Gibbon, Cumbernauld
Regrettably it is unlikely it is unlikely I shall manage to the Reunion. With every good wish for a successful and enjoyable evening, and with kind regards to you.
Gary Mickel, Newton Mearns
I regret that I will not be able to attend the Reunion. I have read the list of invites with interest. It reminds me of some of those I used to do battle with in the forests some fifty plus years ago. Best wishes for a succcesful gathering,
Charlie Bruce Miller, Cults
Once again I must sibmit my apologies for the Reunion – I’d planned my holidays to avoid October to enable me to finally attend the Reunion but due to problems in the USA and travel issues I have had to rearrange my complete holiday plans …I will be away for most of October. Itrust the event will run smoothly as always – please pass on my best wishes toanyone who remembers me.
Robert McKenzie, Barrhead
With regret, Lindsay Kerr and I will be unable to join you and our friends at Dunblane on the 25th. We do hope however to make the next one.
Alasdair Pearson, Streatley, Berks
I hope the Reunion goes well and please tender my apologies or my absence.
Ian Scott-Watson, Greenlaw
I regret I will be unable to attend the Reunion (or anything at presnet) due to a nasty surgical procedure.
Peter Speakman, Cumbria
Regretfully, I am unable to attend this or indeed any future events of this kind, as I am sure you will understand as I am 95 years old, and this event is now of no interest to me.
Jean Stenhouse, Bearsden, Glasgow
We would have loved to have joined you bit it is a bit to come from Burgundy and, sadly, that is where we will be on October 25th. We will raise a glass to you.
Ron & Elspeth Smith, Strathmigio.
That’s all folks !!
Stuart Parker, December, 2019