A Little Bit of History

Those of you who read the last Southern Scene in Revcounter will remember that there was a reference to the early history of Southern Counties and the Austin Healey Club. Shortly after it was published I received an email from long term member Bob Beaumont, in which he said;

‘I have been a member since 1974 and can recall the early days. I used to be the competitions secretary in the days when we had an auto test series and production car trial series (in conjunction with Mid Surrey Auto Club and Sevenoaks and District MC) and participated with other clubs in speed events. Southern Counties was also one of the centres involved with the establishment of the AHC race series in the 1980’s.

The SCSC badge in your article adorns the front of my Frogeye and was given to me by one of the founding members when I joined all those years ago.’
I subsequently spoke at length to Bob when he told me that the above mentioned SCSC Badge had been  stolen from his car but he later found it on ebay (recognised by some specific minor damage marks) and bought it back. He also related many memories of the early days including the first Noggins at the Royal Oak at Staplehurst Wood where the Landlord was a keen supporter of Classic Cars. In 1985 the Club held its first International Healey Weekend at Brands Hatch and Bob was on the Organising Committee with, Neil and Christine Bacon, David and Robina Matthews, Malcolm Scopes, Huw and Carol Morgan, Kevin Law, Steve Kirkham, Ken and Gill Jarrett, Bryan and Janet Mercer and Julie Wilson. Bob has very kindly lent me the Brochure for this weekend and some of the content accompanies this article. I understand that the weekend suffered from heavy rain which made things very difficult not least because many people were camping. I know that some of you were also around then and have fond memories of those times. 

 The organising Committee for the 1985 IHW at Brands Hatch ( I may publish the ‘Who’s Who’ from the above list in the next News Brief).Southern Counties Members SurveyMost of you reading this will remember that you received an email invitation to participate in our on-line survey. I know that any sort of survey is not everybody’s ‘cup of tea’ but the results of this survey will be used to shape the future direction of the Centre so a big thankyou to all those who participated.

In the meantime here is a summary of the results provided by Committee Member John Williams, the leader of the Survey Working Group. We would also take this opportunity to thank our colleagues in the Northern Centre for their help and support in compiling this survey, especially Doug McClymont.

Following concerns about the low level of attendance of its members at the organized events, the committee decided after much analysis, to carry out an online survey to understand the disparate nature of its members as to what they require from the committee to improve the levels of engagement. Southern Counties Centre sent 236 invites to its members via email of which 7 bounced back, 45 remained unopened. 177 email successfully opened with 102 (57.6%) completed surveys being received. We do need to understand why we have not been able to reach 49 members successfully by email and we ask you all to check your email address is accurately recorded on the Club’s database and check you have opted into communication from the Club. You can do this by going to the national Austin Healey Club website http://www.austinhealeyclub.com and login to the members area. Contact the webmaster to give your consent to receiving emails if you have previously advised that you do not wish to receive email communication.

The survey demonstrated that in general members were satisfied with the Centre however it did not fully meet the needs of all the members. The results are especially useful and gives the committee a good insight of the members wishes forming a good basis to develop a program to further engage a wider audience of its members. There is a lot of detail from the study so rather than publish them here they are available for everyone to see via a link on the Southern Counties Website, ahc-sc.org.uk. By visiting the Centre’s website and following the link you will be able to follow the responses to each question along with all the free text comments. You will also see comments about the response to each question which maybe be helpful as you review the outputs on the Survey Monkey platform.

The Southern Counties Committee are currently engaged in the analyzing the results. The intent is to develop a plan incorporating those requirements which will enhance the engagement of the membership alongside our current programs. This will be a progressive plan as some of the suggestions will have to be phased over time. Once we have completed an achievable plan, we will publish it on the Centre’s website. Your support is paramount, and we welcome your comments once it has been published. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to participate and apologies if you were one of the members who we did not manage to reach via email. The feedback we received was positive and clear. We are certain that we will be able to introduce some, if not all, of the ideas and changes the survey has demonstrated.
 Link to Website
To finish here are a couple of reminders about future events. First is the Warwick Healey CC21 event to be held at Gaydon on 3rd and 4th July. With all the relevant car clubs invited this promises to be a special occasion. David Matthews whose name appears in another section of this brief is heavily involved in this event. Please see the link button to Warwick Healey CC21 below. Please note that this is not an Austin Healey Club organised event.

Secondly a new event has been added to our Centre Schedule for  11th August 2021 when there is an opportunity to visit Michelham Priory near Hailsham in East Sussex. Your committee has negotiated for our members and their cars to cross the ancient entrance bridge across the moat and park up inside the Priory.  The site dates from 1229 so much to see. Please use the link to the SC Website and then the Events Page for more information.

Finally I was really looking forward to seeing those of you who have booked up for the 2021 International Healey Weekend at Worcester on 16th,17th and 18th July. However I know this is looking very much in the balance depending on this afternoon’s announcements regarding Covid Restrictions. But I can still be positive!

With Best Wishes to you all

Dave Colwell
Director and Chairman

 Warwick Healey CC21Copyright © 2021 Austin healey Club Southern Counties, All rights reserved.

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