Eddie’s pictures tell a story

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To be more accurate, Eddie’s pictures tell many a story.

The Eddie in question? Eddie Johnston MBE, long-serving and much appreciated Chairman of the North West Vintage Motor Cycle Club. And the pictures? Well, a selection of evocative photographs covering several decades and graphically illustrating Eddie’s long-term involvement in and deep love of motorcycling and, significantly, his work on behalf of less advantaged elements of the community.

Recently NWVMCC members saw the boot being firmly placed on the other foot in that Eddie, often the donor of accolades and presenter of awards, was the recipient of the club’s appreciation. The ever creative John Scott, ably assisted by Michael Patton, Chris Sharp, Danny Leighton and John Blair, had produced a magnificent photograph album based upon Eddie’s life in bikes and with bikers. John presented this to the Chairman and club members themselves were able to appreciate the photographs which were digitally presented on a large screen.

Many were the memories evoked of personalities, some deceased, and events, both sporting and social, and many were the stories which emanated from these memories.

To say “Thank you, Eddie” seems an inadequate way of expressing individual and collective appreciation to someone who has done so much for motorcycling in particular as well as, more generally, for our part of Northern Ireland. Eddie has been, and continues to be, an ambassador of the highest calibre.

Reference has already been made to Eddie’s leadership in terms of support for groups within our community and NWVMCC’s efforts in this area have continued with the Gateway Club receiving a donation of £600, raised at yet another successful dinner dance, and the Mountfern Community receiving £100, the proceeds of a Danny Leighton raffle.

The annual ‘Tour de Triangle’ took place on January 1st with club members and others pedal cycling the NW200 circuit – or as much of it as they could. Motley was the group of cyclists which convened at the pits area on a bright but cool, squally and very windy New Year’s morning and many were the looks of astonishment, indeed disbelief, from passing motorists. As the Tour was unofficial in nature, dope-testing did not come into play neither were sanctions taken against those who opted for the shorter Roselick Road circuit or whose machines took them directly to a coffee shop.

Special thanks go to tandem-expert Billy Nutt who provided refreshments in Portstewart at the end of the event. As for 2014, what price a Cyclemaster or two being resurrected?

City of Culture to Mont Blanc via Buncrana

It’s not often that within the space of one evening people can be transported, even metaphorically, to a variety of locations throughout Europe.

This, however, was the case when members of the North West Vintage Motor Cycle Club held their January meeting. Special guest Jeff Bainbridge, as enthusiastic as ever about the vintage vehicle scene and approaching the status of a youthful nonagenarian, informed NWVMCC about plans for old vehicle clubs in the Coleraine and north Antrim area to take part in a cavalcade to the City of Culture on Saturday 4 May. NWVMCC thanks him for his contribution to the meeting.

So to Buncrana and fond memories of Anna of that town: the Lake of Shadows Hotel will be the venue for NWVMCC’s annual two day run on 20 and 21 July. Organiser John Scott requires names of participants and deposits of £20 by the club’s February meeting. He and his colleagues will be pleased to receive ideas regarding this season’s motorcycle runs as the calendar of events will soon be drawn up.

Looking to the not-too-distant future, Billy Nutt’s motor cycle show takes place in the King’s Hall Pavilion on 8th, 9th and 10th February. This has proved to be one of Ireland’s major shows and 2013 promises to be no different with major manufacturers keen to display their machines and equipment to a knowledgeable and enthusiastic Northern Irish public. Autojumbles at Comber, Jan 25th and 26th, and at Clady, February 22nd and 23rd, are other events of interest to the biking fraternity.

The tireless and effective charity work of David Pattison and his committee has, for many years, been a feature of the vintage vehicle scene. In 2012, for example, £40,000 was raised on behalf of Cancer Research UK. NWVMCC has been given details by Portrush businessman Barry Torrens of further support for that organisation.

Barry is currently training for a July assault on Mont Blanc, a fundraising venture from which 100% of monies raised will go to Cancer Research UK. Barry is hopeful that some NWVMCC members will be amongst those who participate in a fundraising ‘rideout’ on Thursday 16 May. Registration forms and further information can be obtained from Barry himself or from NWVMCC Secretary Jean Beatty.