Abingdon Works Centre Awards Dinner – Saturday 27th March 2010

The last Saturday in March, saw the former home of record-breaker George Eyston, Steventon House Hotel, again welcoming those attending the annual AWC Awards Dinner. This Victorian country house became a hotel in 1981 and in 2007 a part of the Divine Hotels group. In the past three years, the small 23-bedroom hotel has been refurbished and now presents a very attractive, welcoming appearance to those walking through the front door.

After gathering in the comfortable bar area for pre-dinner drinks and a chance to exchange tales of how everyone had spent their Winters, it was time to go through to the smart dining room. We have always been pleased with the food we’ve enjoyed in previous years and this year was no exception. In fact, with the change of ownership the quality of food and the standard of service seem to have improved! Therefore, if anyone is looking for somewhere to spend a relaxing comfortable weekend in the Oxfordshire countryside enjoying good food, the Steventon House Hotel, should be on the list of places to check out.

Once the coffee had been served it was time for the more formal part of the evening which began with a short introductory speech from AWC Chairman, Richard Martin. He then welcomed and introduced guest speaker, Barrie “Whizzo” Williams who entertained us all with tales from his 50-year plus racing career. Admitting to not being a professional after-dinner speaker, I’m sure those listening to him would be tempted to say that a new career would open up for him should he decide to retire from racing!

The next item on the agenda was the presentation of the three trophies and “Whizzo” had kindly agreed to present two of them. The first, the John Thornley Trophy, is awarded for the highest placed Centre member at a Silverstone Autotest, and the 2010 winner was Peter Venables for his efforts in his RV8. The second is the Ron Gibson Trophy, awarded to the highest placed Centre member in the Triple M Handicap race at Silverstone who, this year, was Peter Green. Peter was unable to attend the dinner and, in his absence, “Whizzo” presented the trophy to Mike Allison, the Triple M Register President.

The third trophy, the Charlton Award for Centre Member of the Year, is decided upon by the Centre Committee from nominations received from the Natters, and is given for services to the Centre during the year. As those assembled were told, this year was again a particularly difficult choice since all were very worthy nominations. However, when the votes were counted there was a winner, Brian Moylan. Brian was presented with his trophy by Bill & Heather Charlton, the award’s donors.

The final stage of the evening the “AWC Experience”, otherwise known as the raffle, brought the evening to a close with many commenting that the 2010 dinner was the best for many years. Thanks to those who supported this year’s dinner, especially those who contributed to the splendid array of raffle prizes, and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2011.

Report: Richard Martin

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