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SOUTH OF ENGLAND RALLY AT BRADFIELD COLLEGE, READING
Sunday 17 May 2009

The main display of Club motor cars on the immaculate sports ground.
This year saw a welcome return to Bradfield College, a delightful retreat tucked away in the quiet Berkshire countryside a few miles to the west of Reading. Set in its own village, the College is a collection of quaint and attractive red brick and flint buildings dating back to Elizabethan times and, with its own chapel, war memorial, quadrangle, sports pavilion and well-tended sports fields it is the quintessential image of a traditional English seat of learning. Established in 1850 by Thomas Stevens it is now one of the country's leading co-educational independent schools with some 700 pupils between the ages of thirteen and eighteen and recognised for achieving academic excellence and well-rounded education.

Naturally, with such a long-standing establishment, little had changed since our first rally there some four years ago. It was as attractive and enchanting as ever, but the one thing that is equally a part of our traditional English way of life - the weather - was not in our favour this time. The phrase "You are British, you will picnic, even in the rain" came to mind when viewing the 176 Club motor cars gathered by lunchtime.

  New Rolls-Royce Phantoms
Goodwood Phantoms from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
 
Picnicking in front of the Quadrangle.   The South Coast Stompers Dixieland jazz band provided the music.
The South Coast Stompers, our regular strolling Dixieland jazz band, persevered well under the conditions to add some gaiety to the day while a group of college students worked tirelessly running well-attended guided tours of the chapel and the college buildings. A second group of students had something of a challenge judging the Best Car of the Show and came up with a very creditable winner. A well-stocked Club Shop was present doing brisk trade (around £2,600 in all) as too was the Spares Stand and Jane Hutchinson selling copies of her Windovers book. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars from Goodwood were represented by a superb Phantom drophead and a Phantom Coupe (driven by Suzanne Finch). Bentley Pangbourne provided a display of three Arnages.

The raffle, enhanced by a number of very generously donated prizes from Rolls-Royce, Bentley Pangbourne and others, was unaffected either by the weather or the slightly low attendance on the day and was as successful as the organisers could have wished.

As well as the judging of the Best Car by the students, three other volunteers were recruited to select the winners of our other trophy classes - Best Pre-War, Best Post-War and Elegance. As always at the South of England judging is kept at an informal level so the winning cars are very much the subjective views of the judges but nevertheless their selections always seem to please everybody. The results were as follows:

  • Best Pre-War Car (judged by Mr Darren Collins): Car No 59, Mr T J Fenton, 1937 Bentley 4 Vanden Plas Tourer, Reg No EGJ51.
  • Best Post War Car (judged by Mr Tony Painter): Car No 153, Dr Robert Hollamby, 1962 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II DHC by H J Mulliner, Reg No ESK749.
  • Trophy of Elegance (judged by Mr Tim Forrest): Car No 131, Mr John Durham, 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sports Saloon by A Mulliner, Reg No DUV166.
  • Best Car in Show (judged by the students of Bradfield College): Car No 15, Mr Jack Henley, 1947 Bentley Mk VI 2 door Coupe by Freestone & Webb, Reg No SMH311.
 
There were rain showers thoughout the day.
Finally our thanks to the staff and pupils of Bradfield College and all the members of Central Southern, South Eastern, Middlesex, Thames Valley and Surrey Sections who worked so hard to make the event the success it was.

Andy Courtney and Ted Meachem - Section Secretary

Photos: Ian Burt and Ted Meachem