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North Devon Legendary Grand Tour – Saturday 26th – Monday 28th August 2018

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North Devon Legendary Grand Tour – Saturday 26th – Monday 28th August 2018

As every year, Six Ex Mini Owners Club support this annual event which whilst having fun raises much needed money for the Children’s Hospice South West which helps children who are chronically ill and their families.

August 2018 saw club member’s heading towards North Devon for this 23rd year event which included Steve, Rachel, Dave, Alix, Len, Luke, Dawn, Nick and myself.  Steve, Rachel, Dave, Alix and myself camped this year away from the main group of event attendee’s, at Westacott Farm which offered more in the way of “the comforts of home” compared to that of the campsite at the Big Sheep.

The Legendary Grand Tour is unlike any other motoring event in the country because it is not confined to a field but let loose on the roads of North Devon.  What makes this event so special is that the minis, which are at the heart of this event, do not drive off in groups of 20, or 1 every 3 minutes, but in a convoy one after the other.  You could never call the LGT the biggest motoring event in the country, because it is restricted to 250 Minis, but when it is out on the open road in a convoy travelling at 30mph, it is nearly 10 miles long and can take 15 to 20 minutes to pass, so it must be one of the longest. The convoy visits many different towns and villages across North Devon, in fact, it joins some of the towns and villages together. It brings thousands of people out into the streets to watch the mini’s go by invading housing estates where people are sitting on their front lawns drinking tea and sipping glasses of wine and waving flags from behind homemade banners.  The spectators will fill lay-bys and they will be standing on bridges laughing and smiling and waving as the convoy goes by.  Over the past 23 years, the minis have been taken into the hearts of the people of North Devon and that’s how the event can do what it does and get away with it.

There is an incredible reaction from the children who drag their parents out to watch it year after year.  They cheer and dance when they hear the mini’s coming, their Mum’s and Dad’s, Nan’s and Grandad’s smile and wave as they go by.  Maybe it brings back a few memories of a time when they had a mini and how the whole family squeezed into one to go on holiday.  It is amazing to think some of those children who originally waved at the convoy all those years ago now have children of their own who come out and watch as it goes by.  This year the crowds were even bigger than normal and we especially noticed this on the drive out from “The Burrows” on Saturday night which ended up in Appledore.

This year the Six Ex Member`s raised over £450.00 towards the charity whilst dressing up as “Cardinals” in their mini’s for a third year.  Some of the reactions we got were amazing and the local newspaper even wanted us to pose for a photo for the magazine.

Despite the weather being awful on the Sunday we all had a great weekend and look forward to attending the event next year on the Summer Bank Holiday in August.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Rich Clark

The Gloucestershire Vintage and Country Extravaganza – Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th August 2018

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The Gloucestershire Vintage and Country Extravaganza – Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th August 2018

The Vintage & Country Extravaganza returned for its 44th year at South Cerney Airfield for this sprawling event packed show and the weather was absolutely fantastic with 25-30 degrees certainly called for shorts and t-shirts and even sun cream for some.

There was Vintage displays of nearly 700 classic cars, including over 70 Classic American, 230 Motorbikes, scooters, 70, 30 miniature steam engines, 90 stationary engines, 70 full size steam engines, model engineering, 200 Tractors, over 80 Buses and Coaches, 120 Military Vehicles, 240 Emergency and Commercial Vehicles, 60 Industrial Trucks, 50 vintage Caravans and a large model Aircraft flying display.  Also a Live Arena with non-stop demonstrations from steam to dancing tractors and much much more. Plus the opportunity to drive a steam engine and see the spectacular Showman’s Engines.

A Vintage Fun fair with the popular Fairground Organs, 'electric yachts', waltzers, big wheel, Punch and Judy, steam-driven 'gallopers', traditional penny arcade games, plus a ride on a model stream train, or ‘Chuffy the train’, and traditional games.

The Cotswold Dog and Cat Home from Cambridge in Gloucestershire, hosted the now ‘famous Dog Show’ with categories such as Scruffiest Mutt, Quickest Sit and Waggiest Tail, plus the Countryside Arena featured ferret racing, rare breeds, animal conservation, alpaca’s, shire horses, horse logging, sheep shearing, falconry displays to sheep dancing and reptiles!

A massive trade stand area with over 100 trade stalls, models tents, craft marques and specialist displays of memorabilia from a bygone era.

There were plenty of food and drink ‘pit stops’, a firm favourite was the vintage tea room with regular music and 1940s inspired Lindy Hop dancing.  Plus live music from songstress Betsy Harmony, performing a delightful selection of 1940s songs from Andrew Sisters to Vera Lynn, to a right old ‘knees up’ sing-along plus regular sets by the ‘Steamed Up Brass ’

Jump4Heroes, The Royal British Legion Extreme Human Flight Team, parachute display team descended into the arena on all three days of the event.  They support and raise awareness of the Armed Forces charities.  There was a vintage bus offering free rides around the showground on all three days.

There was camping for those who wanted to stay for the weekend and enjoy the evening entertainment at the bar.

All profits from the 2018 Gloucestershire Vintage & Country Extravaganza will be donated to regional and national charities