As I mentioned yesterday, during the first part of the 1980s I was secretary of the local vintage club and one of my ambitions during my reign as secretary was to hold our own independent vintage rally. We had successfully held gatherings in conjunction with other events, but I wanted to organise one of our own, some of the committee were very reluctant to commit to this but thankfully I had good support from two other members who were able to persuade the others we should give it a go. One of the members was able to secure a field at no cost for which we could hold the event, it was at Ystrad Mynach in the Welsh Valleys, a bit farther out from our Cardiff base than we would have wished, but it was free so we went ahead.
I organised it all, well nearly all, I sorted invitations, entries, posters, advertising, programmes, site plans, found a supply of fencing, in fact 90% of the pre-planning was mine. The Monday before the show we assembled on site, well some of the members did, and laid everything out according to my plans and then proceeded to bang in stakes ready for roping up on the weekend of the show. We were taking a gamble, we’d hired a few essential things including a marquee for the evening’s entertainment and if we didn’t make a profit we’d have to find the money somehow.
On the very warm first weekend of August a steady stream of exhibitors arrived and after individually welcoming everyone personally I then took them or directed them to where they would be camping. On the Saturday the number of paying visitors through the gate was low and I was beginning to think we might not break even, but by Sunday lunchtime we had exceeded my expectations and were well in profit, I was relieved and satisfied. On the Saturday evening I gathered all the exhibitors together for a group photograph, this took some shouting to get everyone lined up but I managed to fire off six shots, each time just managing to run fast enough to get in the frame myself, I’m on the extreme left in case you hadn’t recognised the very young me. I can count 125 people in this photo plus two dogs and a Teddy!
Despite the fact that about thirty of those shown here were in a close circle of exhibiting friends and members, and I can name or recognise at least thirty others besides, I am in contact now with only a handful. Times move on, interests change and so do people, and I’m one of them. Did I organise another rally for the club? No, although the club held one for a further twenty or more years but only another two on this site. But me, I decided to bow out on a high and retired from the committee shortly after the show. The entrance to the rally site is now under a roundabout and a new(ish) trunk road has taken up a huge chunk of the field, we wouldn’t be able to stand in this location today to have our photo taken. Sadly I note from the NVTEC National website, the Glamorgan & Gwent Group is no longer in existence, although I’m sure they were still running a year ago; we were one of the more progressive groups in the 1980s, I wondered what happened for the group to be disbanded?