We never appreciate how good something is until we lose it – perhaps that’s why there’s such a big interest in old motorbikes – so the recent reports of disagreements within that great organisation, The Vintage Motor Cycle Club, have left me feeling rather sad, especially in the light of the untimely passing of Ken Hallworth, who did so much to make everything work when he became the club’s first full-time national secretary.
As stated in our tribute to Ken on the opposite page, he arrived at a club in turmoil and wasted no time in setting about schemes to save the organisation, including the club raffle that still exists today.
Old Bike Mart could never be the same without the excellent reports and photos of those VMCC events organised by sections all over the United Kingdom that bring so much joy to members and non-members, participants and spectators alike – in fact it sometimes feels as if we’ve never had it so good.
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In all the years that I’ve been editing newspapers and magazines, about everything from motorcycles and steam railways to cycling, traction engines and old tractors (to name but a few!), I’ve always been keenly aware that, whenever people become deeply passionate about their hobby, whether it be motorcycling, angling, bird-watching or stamp collecting, they join a club and eventually become more closely involved in its organisation.
Then rivalries erupt, feelings get hurt and disagreements break out – it’s called human nature, I suppose – but I’ve also learned from hard-earned experience that reconciliation feels a million times better than breaking apart.
The VMCC is a national treasure whose activities, social and otherwise, are thoroughly enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life who ride all kinds of motorcycles. I’m sure that all of us would want to keep it that way.
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An excellent suggestion from Andy Hanlon, who loves our stories of days gone by, written by people who were there at the time, is that we publish more of them before such memories disappear for ever – so come on readers, don’t be shy! There must be thousands of great motorcycling stories just waiting to be told.
Another reader, noting the number of letters with simply the word ‘email’ beneath their names, suggests it would be more interesting if they mentioned the towns, cities, villages or (if they have good reason not to give such information) counties they’re writing from – and who could disagree with that?