After many years of good luck weather wise, it looked like the luck was going to run out this Boxing Day with heavy rain forecast from lunchtime, however a promising heavy frost greeted my 5.45a.m arrival on site. It seems everyone else had checked the weather because an unusually high amount of cars started showing up extra early and fears of a quiet day were soon erased when the first car park was full early on. Then, for a half hour period us five Marshals ( yes just five! ) were inundated with a stunning array of cars, bikes, vintage tractors etc and we had our work cut out getting them all off the road and into the 3 car parks. By around 9.30 we once again had 3 car parks full to the brim of what many people say is the most eclectic mix of classic vehicles they've ever seen.
With every possible space utilised, bar going onto private property and the bus lane itself, we then began the unenviable task of turning cars away ... something we hate but a necessary evil. Most people understand this and simply park their vehicles on one of Romsey's town centre streets, where they still get seen and appreciated by the incredible viewing crowds the event attracts. Some sadly take umbrage and try to barge their cars and bikes past Marshals whilst hurling abusive at the same time, often claiming they have a space saved by a mate ... we had just been round the car parks there were no spaces! Many of those turned away were post 76 European cars and modern motor bikes which do not fit the event's criteria and shouldn't even be coming to the event anyway! Those throwing abuse at my Marshals do not seem to realise they are being saved the frustration of going into an already packed car park that has no spaces! These Marshals give up part of their Christmas to help this event run and it couldn't run without them and they are to be applauded and thanked, not abused please!
On a brighter note, the vehicles that were on site covered most every genre and era you could possibly imagine from early 1900s cars to militaria, chrome laden 50's cars, to 60's sports cars, 50's vintage tractors, and all eras of motorbikes from pre war to the "ton up boys" era to the "mod" era to the early 70's Japanese sports bikes ... we even had "Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang" arrive ... and then take flight! The site was alive with the sights and sounds of yesteryear and the crowds of spectators grew and grew with smiling faces seen everywhere. As organiser I sadly can't bear personal witness to the eclectic array of vehicles because I don't get time to see my own event from a spectators view, I see it retrospectively in people's photos that they kindly send me or host on our Facebook page. Only then can I take in just how many vehicles we do cram into Romsey and also what an unbelievable mix turns out on a frosty Boxing Day morning... even when there's impending rain. We "guesstimated" 6 - 700 cars and 200 plus bikes last year and this year was the same, if not an even higher number with those we had to sadly direct to the other town centre car parks.
As early arrivals started to leave around 11a.m, newer arrivals or those we had to turn away earlier, then brought their vehicles in and once again it seemed there was nearly an entirely new show field for everyone to view. Then at around 12.30 the threatened rain started to arrive and slowly the vehicles dispersed and the site once again had a ghostly silence at it's advertised 1p.m closing time. A great day over once again, smiling faces were of the majority throughout the day and Romsey businesses once again reeping the benefits of custom from the event. Now it was time to clear up the site, put away the barriers and signs and go total up the charity tins, buckets and boxes ... of which there were 30 on site! For those that missed the 30 tins, donations can still be made here up untilt the end of January
As most of you know, the event has collected for charity since it's inception, initially changing each year but for some 7 years now ( due to it's popularity as a charity choice ) we have collected for PROSTATE CANCER UK, for whom we have raised ( prior to this year's show ) £10,968. This year's collection on the day was sadly down ... but only by £17 BUT is currently standing at £3557.16 ( including the JUSTGIVING page donations ) which has already higher than last year's total of £3212.23, which was acheived by the end of January! A huge thank you to all who donated and to you all for your continued support of the event. Please if you would, take note of the "NEW YEAR / NEW RULES" page and share it with all your friends.
As a footnote I did once again prior to the event, write to Cafe Nero and Costa Coffee in Romsey, ( who both do incredible trade Boxing Day thanks to the event ) asking that they may consider donating to the charity, like our resident caterer does so generously and "Linekers" another local cafe kindly also does ... but that letter sadly seems to have once again fallen on deaf ears.