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 Magical history tourers: A pair of hand-built Morgan cars
I understand you’re a fairly recent resident of Lavenham, Bruce. What drew you to the village and what do you love about living there?
I moved to the area following my retirement from the asset finance industry seven years ago. Lavenham wasn’t new to me, having lived and worked in the area during the late 1970s/early 1980s. Apart from it being England’s medieval gem and the fantastic infrastructure (only 2,300 residents, but seven eateries, three grocers, a butcher, baker, etc), there’s also a genuine community spirit.
When did Lavenham Classics make its
debut and did you have any previous experience of staging such shows?
I organised the first Lavenham Classics in 2016, having discovered that Lavenham Carnival, with its associated “Rare Breeds Car Show” was ceasing due to challenging financial issues. With a long association with the classic car movement, I felt compelled to ensure that this element should continue and so I raised my hand. It wasn’t a completely new experience, having founded the Suffolk branch of the Jaguar Drivers Club and launched the first East Anglian Jaguar Show when I had lived in the area before. Having more recently been a part of the organising team for the British F1 Grand Prix probably helped a bit as well!
How many cars and bikes took part in the original event and how did you market it
to the owners?
Through the good offices of a fellow villager, John Denton, who looks after the website and database for Lavenham Classics, I was able to canvass a number of exhibitors from the “Rare Breeds” days. However, my approach to the business case of running such an event involved my requesting that all exhibitors pay
an entry fee. Having enjoyed free entry to the former shows my rationale was subject to much criticism, but the first event yielded approximately 120 exhibitors – and we made a profit! Not only profitable but also enjoyable with everyone attending remarking upon the right crowd and relaxed atmosphere. We now have approximately 300 regular
exhibitors and welcome more than 1,000 visitors each year.
Covid-19 forced the cancellation of many shows. How did you manage to keep going? Fortunately, I took the gamble early on to proceed with the organisation of the event, recognising that it would be easier to cancel at the last minute rather than initiate it with no time for adequate build up. The gamble paid off, as Boris announced a relaxation in the pandemic restrictions and the event was able to go ahead. Observing the necessary safety protocols introduced a few operational challenges but, once again, the event was a success.
The profits are donated to local charities. How much have you raised so far and for whom?
I organise the event on behalf of the Lavenham Community Council (LCC), for which I am now a trustee, itself a registered charity which seeks to provide, maintain and develop recreational
activities for the inhabitants of the village. The charity operates the village hall, home to the pre-school and library, and the recreation ground, which is home to Lavenham Tennis Club and Lavenham Youth Football Club (who have just won the Suffolk FA Club of the Year). The event has raised more than £15,000 to date, all going to charity. The LCC is also a hub for donations for other village charities such as the Good Neighbour Scheme, Dementia Alliance and First Responders, along with St Nicholas Hospice and the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
You’re obviously a petrol head. Does your interest in classic cars date back to boyhood and what prompted it?
I am undoubtedly a petrol head. I was a long- haired motorcycle hooligan until acquiring my first car at the age of 20, having realised that the fairer sex preferred comfort! I always lusted after speed and have thus always subscribed to the theory that the bigger the engine, the better the car. Unfortunately, my limited budgets meant that I was having to buy older cars and maintain them myself. As time moved on, I appreciated the quality of the engineering of older vehicles and stuck with them (at the last count, I have owned at least 70 cars over the years). In more recent times, I have been fortunate enough to have owned modern performance cars.
Do you have a motorsport hero and, if so, have you ever had a chance to meet him or her?
I was very fortunate in that I worked for a time for the National Governing Body of Motor Sports. It allowed me access to motor- sport elite: Sir Jackie Stewart, John Surtees, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, to name but a few, and, of course, a young lad from my then neighbouring village, Lewis Hamilton. However, my motorsport hero was Stirling Moss, in his day the most successful Grand Prix driver ever who never won a world championship. I met Stirling on a number of occasions and he was a true gentleman and
a great sportsman.
   Ready to strike: An AC Cobra draws admiring glances from onlookers

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