A classic case of labours of love for members of Blackpool Vehicle Preservation Society

Come March or September, budget permitting, there is invariably a rush of motorists eager to treat themselves to a vehicle with the newest number plate.

Wednesday, 11th September 2019, 8:24 pm
Blackpool Vehicle Preservation Society committee members (from left) - Alan German, chairman Bill Swindlehurst, Richard Senior, Pat German, Joan Ducker, Hilary Holden, Marge Bereton, Ken Wilson, Jim Swaithes
Blackpool Vehicle Preservation Society committee members (from left) - Alan German, chairman Bill Swindlehurst, Richard Senior, Pat German, Joan Ducker, Hilary Holden, Marge Bereton, Ken Wilson, Jim Swaithes

Car showrooms gear up to meet demand and promote all the latest features to be enjoyed by drivers and their passengers as they take to the road in their new acquisition.

But for the dedicated members of the Blackpool Vehicle Preservation Society, it is the transport of the past which is uppermost in their mind and there seems to be an ever-increasing appetite for road-related nostalgia.

Hundreds of people turned out at Lytham Green for the latest show of vehicles proudly owned and by members of the Society, with chairman Bill Swindlehurst delighted to proclaim it their best such event yet.

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Society members Eunice Clark, Barrie Clark and William Brayford at the display on Lytham Green

That's quite a claim to make, as the Society has been staging such displays for the best part of 30 years, but interest in vehicles from years gone by appears to be growing all the time - and it's not just the very old - what the uninitiated might term 'vintage' - vehicles which are proving a magnet.

The likes of Ford Capris and Cortinas which were such a familiar sight on the streets as those of us of a certain age grew up were among the displays to be viewed at Lytham - and all generations were represented among the spectators.

Bill, a retired former policeman and school caretaker from Freckleton, joined the Society around a decade ago a couple of years after acquiring the Jowat Jupiter sports car from 1952 of which is is still the proud owner.

He describes it as "the only car I have ever had which has gone up in value" and enjoys lovingly maintaining it and showing it off at the Society's regular displays.

Crowds enjoy the Society's displays at Lytham Green

The annual show timetable for the Society runs to one such event each in Wyre, Blackpool and Fylde - respectively at Jubilee Gardens, Cleveleys, Stanley Park and until recently for many years Fairhaven Lake, until the latter became unavailable because of the ongoing sea defence works.

That meant the debut of Lytham Green as the Fylde venue - and the Society's proud array of vehicles positively gleamed in the glorious sunshine.

Among the Society members joining Bill and his fellow committee members in showing off their vehicles were Barrie and Eunice Clark from Marton.

They are among the longest serving members, having been part of the Society for some 20 years and having owned an extensive range of vehicles over the years.

Their current pride and joy is a 1956 Sunbeam Talbot which has covered many a mile up and down the country as well as being a prime attraction at shows.

"We love to take it out and about," said Barrie.

""I worked as a car sprayer and have always loved vehicles. We have had lots of cars over the years and been to many of these shows and it is always a pleasure to see people enjoying the displays."

Eunice loves being part of the Society, which offers outings for members as well as the regular shows and monthly meetings currently held at Fleetwood Cricket Club.

She said: "There is a great social scene and it's great to be involved in it."

William Brayford, from the Stanley Park area of Blackpool, is the proud owner of a 1949 Bedford OB coach, which he has taken all around the country on trips and clearly sees as a labour of love.

"It is an absolute pleasure to keep these vehicles in the road and watch the pleasure on people's faces when they see them," he said.

"Maintaining them is a lot more straightforward than modern vehicles, which have so many technical aspects now.

"They were built to last and I am really proud to see so many such vehicles still going strong."