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Author Topic: Romsey Boxing Day classic meet ends  (Read 219 times)
Manky Monkey
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« on: August 23, 2019, 03:11:24 PM »

A message from organiser Steve Biddlecombe, (Mr B the Barber here on the forum)

After many months of soul searching & lengthy discussions with Marshals & close friends, I'm sorry to inform you all that the 2018 BOXING DAY PRE 1976 CAR & BIKE MEET was sadly the last.

For 17 years the event has been a huge part of my life, I have spent most of my holiday time in those years organising & promoting it & thrown a small fortune at it ... with absolutely no regrets whatsoever. What started as a very small gathering has grown & grown into a hugely successful event & it's been great to give a little back to my birth town ( & place of work ), to give my fellow classic vehicle owners a fun event to attend in mid winter & of course, to also raise over 40,000 for charity. Last year's event, both in numbers & in quality of vehicles was astounding, as were the spectator numbers & the amazing 9000.32 collected for PROSTATE CANCER UK. Such was its success, that I don't think I can ever better that day or perhaps even equal it & as a favourite saying goes, "nothing in life is forever".  With the various running issues the event has, I cannot help but fear my very good luck with it is coming to an end & unlike so many fading pop stars & sports personalities, who go on beyond their best, I have decided to "quit at the top" rather than see the event go downhill.

It's been amazing over the years watching families, sometimes 3 generations, enjoying the event & my luck weather wise has been astounding.  I've met some truly wonderful people but have also been abused by my fair share of not so wonderful people!!  I've seen some truly amazing vehicles, a variety of such that is rarely seen at events, but these last few years I've found myself unable to see much at all, due to my parking & traffic control duties on the day. With just 6 marshals to cover all the ground & issues we get on the day, there are simply too few of us & finding willing volunteers, with a good classic car & bike knowledge, gets harder each year. We outgrew the current site many years ago & there simply isn't a better one around. Aldi stated early on in 2018 that they may be opening Boxing Day 2019 & whilst they possibly may not now open this Boxing Day, that day is undoubtedly coming & the loss of their car park & / or the loss of one or two of the others car parks, due to the proposed redevelopments of both Crosfield Hall & the Bus Station, will make the running of the event an impossibility.

The numbers of vehicles the event attracts & the overspill of vehicles into the town, has been a great sight to behold but those huge numbers have also made it all become unmanageable & trying to stop visiting spectators ( & some exhibitors ) from ignoring the very necessary "Disabled access" / "Residents Only" type signage is impossible. Every year that I solve such a parking problem, it just moves that problem 50 yards down the road the next year, to the point that I spent most of last year's show around the corner, away from the event, unable to see absolutely anything, due to having to deal with such issues. That inconsiderate parking has sadly resulted in a lot of complaints & grief thrown in my direction in recent years & it's been made very clear to me, on numerous occasions, that many close proximity residents "hate" the event!... so to be honest it's just not much fun running it anymore.

The above reasons & a fair few others, the death of 4 friends in 2018 ( all similar age to me ), my Dad's cancer returning  this year ( now thankfully in remission ) & some health problems also for me, have all influenced my decision & made me take a look at life differently. Many close to me & customers of mine, may have noticed I have avoided the subject when asked "is it on this year?" & the truth is I have been weighing up the pros & cons all year long, to-ing & fro-ing with my decision & simply not wanting to announce anything until I was 100% certain.

Sadly the cons far outweighed the pros & that tough decision is now made. I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to each & every one of you that has supported the event, it's charity collections & at times of difficulty, supported me also! I appreciate it very much & will always have very fond memories of it & I hope it provided all of you with some fond memories too.

I have already informed all the national car & bike magazines of the event's demise & will now be informing all the car clubs etc, but if you would please be kind enough to also share this around as much as you can, I'd be grateful. You're doing so will hopefully help get this news out to as many people as possible, so that no-one has an unnecessary & disappointing journey to Romsey this Boxing Day.

Thank you,
Steve B
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stinkey
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2019, 06:22:09 PM »

It's a sad enditement on modern life..people have become so selfish and don't even know what they are doing in just a simple act of parking your car? Rather than walking a short distance?
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mrbthebarber
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2019, 04:29:12 AM »

Thank you Andy for posting this, you beat me to it. THANK YOU for being so behind the event over the years, for allowing me the space here to promote it & THANK YOU to you & all other members here that supported my event, I very much appreciated it. It was a tough decision to have to make & I think I'll be reeling from it for weeks to come. Best wishes all.

Stinkey you are so right... sadly :-(
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Manky Monkey
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2019, 04:56:31 PM »

Hi Steve.
The good things in life rarely last & most cool events have a limited life span. I think you've made the right decision to bow out at the top. The meet will be remembered as one of the best & was certainly always a highlight on my calendar. Something to be proud of mate.
It'd be nice to see you "off duty" for once -you've always been busy directing traffic whenever we've met.
Enjoy some well earnt Me Time matey -& thank you for all those enjoyable Boxing Day mornings Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2019, 11:24:51 AM »

Here here. I have some great memories of Boxing Days thanks to Steve and his merry band of marshalls. I'm sad it has ended especially as I wanted to get there last year but couldn't make it but as he says, best to go out on a high. At least we have some great photos on Manky to reminisce about and to reappreciate the great cars, bikes, trikes, campers, trucks and the many other vehicles inbetween; the enthusiastic attendees and of course, the silly hats. They say you never really appreciate something until it's gone but I think I'm right in saying that the majority who regularly attended appreciated every single Boxing Day at Romsey and I'm sure they'll all have very happy memories.

Well done Steve. You deserve to be proud of a very special meet. 

JJ Smiley
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mrbthebarber
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« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2019, 10:12:34 PM »

Andy, Jay Jay, thanks ever so much, it's very much appreciated. I have just this minute replied to a lovely email from you Jay Jay & tbh the whole closing down of the event has been pretty emotional & like I said in my email, I never did it for thanks but the kind words people like you both have written & yes the thanks, really have meant a lot. It's so nice to see that people understand my wanting to leave on a high ... it really was too much work each year, to be able to have coped watching it go downhill eventually, so leaving on a high was important to me. I will miss seeing the happy faces on Boxing Day, which has always been my motivation but it helps to know that me & my great marshals made a lot of people happy, for a number of years. THANK YOU to both of you.
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BikerGran
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« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2019, 10:35:07 PM »

And I never did get there!

I understand completely how much work it takes to run an event, the bike club I belonged to (now defunct, as is my riding) used to put on a charity run every Christmas, and in the end we had to give up as we all got too old and tired!
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