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SOUTH OF ENGLAND RALLY, WOLDINGHAM SCHOOL, CATERHAM
Sunday 14 May 2006

For the second year running the South of England Rally was held at a completely new venue, the choice this year being the grounds of Woldingham Girls' School near Caterham. Set at the end of a two-mile drive the School sits in a quiet valley isolated from the bustle of the surrounding Surrey countryside and is a near ideal spot for a leisurely car rally.

In order to accommodate the number of cars likely to attend, two adjoining areas of the school grounds were selected; a gently sloping field, allocated to post-war cars, and below that, a large walled area which was used to accommodate pre-war cars, the main marquee, and other displays. On the day, some 350 motor cars attended which was a very satisfying turnout and not far short of maximum capacity. It was particularly pleasing to see so many pre-war cars which represented nearly a third of the total attendance.

Activities on the day included conducted tours of the School by the girls, a raffle which was extremely well supported, a wandering Jazz Band, a new Phantom on display courtesy of Andrew Ball of Rolls-Royce Motors at Goodwood and of course the Club Shop and the Spares Stall. During the day a TV film crew, making a programme for the History Channel on the Silver Ghost as a great British icon, had a number of car owners parading their vehicles, some packed with delighted schoolgirls, around the grounds.

For the first time the organisers of this year's South of England Rally had procured four awards in the form of permanent trophies to be presented annually at this and all successive events. The School proposed that these awards be presented by Alderman and Sheriff John Stuttard - shortly to become Lord Mayor of London - and as he is himself an avid Rolls-Royce owner, turning up in a delightful 1921 40/50hp All Weather Tourer, his presence was greatly applauded by all.

The choice of 'Best Car in Show', was made by the girls of Woldingham School, and the new trophy in the form of a showroom-sized Spirit of Ecstasy kindly donated by Montague and Co of Bramley was awarded to Mr P Price for his 1927 Rolls-Royce 20hp Hooper tourer, Reg No DS7695.

The Award for 'Elegance', again chosen by the girls of Woldingham School was presented to Mr Peter Fischer for his 1958 SI Continental Drophead Coupé, Reg No OYL1. The new trophy, of elegant art deco style, had been generously donated by Mr & Mrs Len Meades of the Surrey Section.

A trophy in memory of the late Dr Robin Barnard, an active and esteemed member of the RREC in the South East, was donated by local member John White for the 'Best Pre-War Car'. His choice was a 1935 20/25hp touring limousine by H J Mulliner, Reg No CPE960 owned by Bruce Thompson.

The trophy for the 'Best Post-War Car', in the form of a magnificent etched glass bowl, was donated by Central Southern Section and members Ian and Corinne Niblett where invited to select the winner. Their admirable choice was a 1950 Bentley Mk VI Drophead Coupé by Park Ward, Reg No LFX598 driven by Mr Jim Rankin.

After the awards a large Spirit of Ecstasy, very generously donated by Mr Jim Denne of West Hoathly Garage Ltd, was auctioned and raised a healthy £350. The proceedings concluded with the raffle draw which was for over fifty prizes.

Apart from the frequently overcast skies, the day proceeded without any noticeable problems and everyone, including many staff, parents and girls from the School who turned up to see the wonderful cars parked on their lawns, seemed to be enjoying the day. The School has already suggested a return visit so evidently our appearance there was appreciated.

As Secretary of the Meeting may I add my personal thanks to the Headmistress, the staff and the girls of Woldingham School for their kind hospitality; our most generous sponsors; everyone from the RREC involved in the organisation and administration of the event; and finally everyone who turned up to support the event on the day.

Andy Courtney - Secretary of the Meeting


Woldingham   Woldingham
     
1950 Bentley Mk VI Drophead Coupé   Woldingham
Jim Rankin's 1950 Bentley Mk VI Drophead Coupé was selected as 'Best Post-War Car'. Photos: Andrew Honour