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MG Car Club ~ Devon & Cornwall Centre

That the Centre was doing well was evidenced by the 1959 award of the Nuffield Gold Cup. The presentation was made by Captain George Eyston. The enthusiasm continued and the Cup came to the Centre again in 1969, under the chairmanship of Trevor Lyle, and yet again in 1978 during the chairmanship of Glyn Holford.

(Photo: 1978 Nuffiled Gold Cup - From the left is John Barnacott, Glyn Holfoed (Chairman), Bob Slatter and
Ernest Dickaty (Treasurer) with John’s 1937 MG TA Cream Cracker BBL 80).

October 2010 saw the MG Car Club celebrate 80 years existence, and to honour this occasion the Centre organised a crossing of the River Tamar, the natural boundary between the Counties, by the Ferry from Torpoint, Cornwall to Plymouth, Devon.

Some 50 MGs of all ages took part and the Ferry Company very kindly reserved one ferry for us all to cross together, quite a sight and good publicity for the Club in the local press.

The year 1949 saw the formation of a sub-centre of the South West Centre of the Main Club, to be known as the Devon and Cornwall Sub-Centre. Full Centre status was granted in 1952. Late 1954 saw a significant change in the management when the founder chairman, ‘Shep’ Shepherd retired, his place being taken by the founder secretary Ronnie Dean and Ernest Dickaty became the honorary secretary. Sadly Ronnie died at the time of the Club’s Silver Jubilee in 1955. The new chairman, on a temporary basis, was the leader of the founders, Peter Prance, who held office until the 1956 annual general meeting, to be succeeded by Ernest Dickaty. He held the position for seven years before taking over as treasurer. He moved to being an ordinary committee member in 1989.

A very successful venture some years ago, saw the introduction of the Devon and Cornwall International Weekend, this followed the main Silverstone weekend of competition in the calendar. The idea for this event came about in late 1973, when the MG Car Club decided that it wanted to hold some special events in 1974, in recognition of 50 years of MG production. Under the chairmanship of Nigel Hough, and after much discussion, the committee decided that they would hold an event for this Jubilee year with the grand title of The Devon and Cornwall International Weekend celebrating 50 years of MG. Coincidentally it was also the 25th Anniversary of the Centre.

Come the weekend, we had Dutch, German and French contingents to add to our own members. We also had Syd Beer actually driving Old No 1 in the trial, when he was its custodian and before British Leyland recognised the full importance of this vehicle. We continued in 1975, under the chairmanship of Brian Crichton, with a very similar format. We had an international flavour again with Dick Knudson, of New England T-Register fame, along with half a dozen other Americans and some Germans.

Then by the end of 1976, when thinking of continuing with this successful idea in 1977, Pete and Ann Moores offered the use of their land at Kate’s Cottage, where camping was to be the main accommodation in a similar fashion to the hugely successful Hausach weekends. We even included a distance award, and the first recipient was Rod Spycher from Switzerland in his VA Tourer.

By 1978, we were well established in the MG calendar and attracting members from all over, including Holland, Luxembourg, Norway the U.S.A. and Tasmania. Also it was a great honour to have Gordon and Elsie Cobban present. 1980 saw probably the highlight event. The MG Car Club held a Tour of Britain to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Club and all Centres were involved. We were lucky in that our weekend was included as part of the Tour. In all 224 vehicles descended on us. Visitors came from South Africa, U.S.A., Australia and Europe. The distance award went to Ulf Lindquist from Sweden who actually brought his MG, as against a lot of the tour members who were driving hire cars.

A change of chairman in 1989, with Pete Moores now at the helm. We were honoured to have present Mr MG himself, John Thornley on the Saturday who very kindly made a presentation to Ernest Dickaty on our behalf for his 37 years as an official and committee member of the D & C Centre. This consisted of a framed print of the 18/100 Tigress at Brooklands, which John had very kindly allowed the Club to copy from his original that had hung in his office at Abingdon, and which Ernest had always admired when attending council meetings at the factory.

By 1992, our reputation for fun was to be appreciated outside MG Car Club circles as this year’s event was covered by MG Enthusiast. The week’s activities included visits to Tintagel, Torrington for the glass works and pony trekking on Dartmoor. It culminated in a train trip from Liskeard to Looe for a walking treasure hunt by over 100 adults and children on British Rail’s only train with square wheels, or so it seemed at the time. This successful week may have helped us to win the Nuffield Gold Cup again.

1996, and we thought that the Centre may have problems with the week and particularly the weekend as it clashed with the Main Club Silverstone race meeting which had to be re-arranged due to the British Touring Cars Championship being unable to make up their minds when they wanted to race.

We need not have worried because nearly all the regulars let us know well in advance that if it came to a choice of event then we would win hands down. Once again we won the Gold Cup, not a bad effort for one of the smaller centres.

Sadly, in June 2012, we lost one of the Centre’s most respected members with the sudden passing of Peter Moores - ‘Moorsie’ to most of us. As mentioned earlier he has been a stalwart of the Centre since joining the Club in 1971, either organising or participating in all aspects of the Club’s and Centre’s activities from racing his J2 at Silverstone, to trialling it in classic trials always with considerable success. The Centre has raised enough money from events to purchase a Memorial Bench in his honour which was presented to Pete’s other passion in life, Callington Cricket Club. The Club themselves also renamed their ground ‘Moores Park’, a fitting tribute to a lifelong Cricket player and Chairman of that Club.

August 2015 saw the 40th Anniversary of our Border Pub Meeting on the River Tamar at Horsebridge. We think that this is probably one of the longest running Natters at the same venue anywhere in the Club. It was started by Jeremy Davidson on the 20th of that month and has continued unbroken since then through several Landlords, all of which have made us most welcome.

Devon and Cornwall Centre


Bob Slatter and Ernest Dickaty

For over 40 years, the Centre has had the Secretarial Chair filled by Bob Slatter ably assisted by his wife, Barbara. Having been elected to the Committee in 1973 and to the position of Secretary in 1974, he has been in continuous service except for two years when he was Chairman of the Centre.

We think that the late Douglas Mickel was the only Centre Secretary to have served longer in that position.

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