It is rumoured Isadora Duncan once lived there when it was owned by sewing machine magnate Sir Mortimer Singer and it was the former home of MG racer George Eyston, but on the last Saturday in March, Steventon House Hotel was once again the venue for the AWC 2011 Awards Dinner.
Since changing hands in 2007, the hotel seems to seek to improve on their performance each year and this was no exception. We were warmly greeted by the front-of-house team who looked after everyone’s needs in the elegant, comfortable bar area as it filled up with people from all areas of the Centre and beyond!
Once everyone had arrived, it was time to go through to the large, welcoming dining room taking note of where to sit from the table plan and looking out for your table number imaginatively displayed on AWC ‘feather banners’ on each table, courtesy of artistic Secretary, Pete Davies. Once again, we were delighted with the food – I now know what “Bang Bang” chicken is – with a number of people commenting that it “just gets better.”
Over coffee and mints, Chairman Richard Martin, welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. It was, he said, particularly pleasing to be able to welcome June Wallis and Car Club Director, Ian Quarrington and his wife Marion. He then introduced the guest speaker, motoring author and historian Graham Robson who proceeded to entertain his audience with well chosen snippets from a wide-ranging career in the car world.
We then moved to the presentation part of the evening with Graham presenting the Ron Gibson Trophy and the John Thornley Trophy. The Ron Gibson Trophy is awarded to the highest placed Centre member in the Triple M Handicap race at Silverstone who this year was Jane Metcalf. Since Jane’s husband Tim and father, Mike Allison, are previous winner’s of the trophy, this is in danger of becoming a family affair! The John Thornley Trophy is awarded for the highest placed Centre member at a Silverstone Autotest who in 2010 was Sophy Bassett. Could this be the first time, both competition trophies had been won by women? Very likely, but probably not the last!
The third trophy, The Charlton Shield for Centre Member of the Year, was awarded to John Harris for his unstinting efforts in creating and running the annual Boxing Day Run for the past 17 years. It was John’s original idea and he’s been responsible for putting it together each and every year with 2010 being his swan-song as he’s passed the mantle onward. As John wasn’t present, Bill and Heather Charlton presented the trophy to John Venables who was there at that first Boxing Day Run. (The trophy was presented to John Harris at the March Dog House Natter)
There then followed the “AWC Experience”, otherwise known as the Awards Dinner raffle, which, this year, due to the unheralded generosity of donors saw a vast array of prizes on offer. Treasurer, Gill Martin thanked everyone who donated the prizes and thanked them for their generosity.
Richard Martin brought the night to a close by thanking everyone for their contributions to a very enjoyable few hours and also thanked the organisers Brian Moylan & Gill Martin for pulling the evening together.
Text: Richard Martin. Photos: Gill Martin and Pete Davies