Prescott 2014: The People

In this month’s article I shall be confining my subject matters to the personal side of Prescott rather than what might be described as the headline events, as these will be covered by Gaynor Cauter on behalf of the JDC.  In fact I am always more interested in the individuals who come to our meetings and am more than happy to concentrate on the delightful people I had the privilege to meet on Sunday 8th June 2014.

Saturday evening’s meal was its usual success with our esteemed guest of honour, the ever youthful Norman Dewis. Towards the end of the evening as we watched the setting sun over Elgar country, and in particular the Malvern Hills, I stepped out onto the balcony to finish off my last glass of wine. There I was delighted to meet Mrs Rita Belford who had travelled with her husband from North Queensland Australia. I am a great admirer of Australia and the Australian people, so I was able to share with Rita our mutual interest in such a great country. The next morning I was able to meet up with both Ian and Rita who had started their holiday near Rome visiting Rita’s relatives. Rita is very proud of her Italian heritage. Needless to say whilst in Italy they visited the Ferrari factory as they love all proper sports cars. Having toured extensively in Yorkshire, they made their way to Gloucestershire for the Prescott meeting. Both of them appreciated the lush green English countryside in comparison to the dry brown landscape of North Queensland during the summer months. Where Ian and Rita live to the west of Townsville, the climate is tropical, and air conditioning essential. It is for this reason that they chose a modern Jaguar with a retro appearance, namely the S Type. As a young boy Ian and his school chums took great delight in touring the area in an original 3.8 S Type belonging to a friend’s father.  Ian and Rita’s S Type was imported from the UK, in particular Lancashire, by its then owner who was retiring to Australia. I greatly enjoyed meeting this delightful couple who went on to win the ‘furthest travelled visitors’. 

I next met up with Richard and Barbara Galazka who live near Swindon. Richard attended in his 1965 series 1 FHC which he had restored over a 27 year period, admittedly with many interruptions in respect of other duties, carrying out every job on the car including re spraying and upholstery. Richard is a most remarkable man, because when he did not know how to complete a job, he would learn the necessary skills to complete it including preparing detailed scale drawings. Whilst he had kept the car as original as possible, he had made improvements in respect of cooling and the drainage of body panels. Richard purchased the car in 1987 and completed the restoration on the Friday, the 6th June just before the Prescott meeting. The car was MOT and taxed electronically in time to drive legally to the meeting. When he purchased the car, like so many E Types, the bonnet was damaged, but having taught himself to panel beat and with the benefit of his own technical drawing of the bonnet he was able to restore this most significant body panel on an E Type. All three forms of welding, spot, arc, and mig, Richard taught himself. Every mechanical component of the car, from engine and gear box to crown wheel and pinion Richard stripped, reconditioned and rebuilt. Richard went on with his beautiful car to win second place in the modified event.

Finally I was very pleased to meet Simon Couldridge who lives with his wife and five children on the island of Sark. As I am sure you all know Sark is unsullied by petrol or oil as the only means of transport is via the horse. Simon’s immaculate 1970 series II 4.2 soft top is kept in Bristol, where he travels as often as he can to drive his beautiful car. The car is very original, but what in fact intrigued me most was the beautiful luggage that had been acquired by the previous owner, specifically shaped to fit precisely into the boot of an E Type Jaguar.

Simon had attended with his old friends Mr and Mrs Andrew Hall, and their two delightful sons William and James. I cannot express adequately how much I enjoyed speaking to these people and the others that I had mentioned above.

 

E Types seem to bring out the best in people, and I look forward to meeting all these charming people at future events organised by the E Type Register. Whenever I look round to find Norman Dewis, he was always in the company of an attractive lady. I must have words with him to find out what the secret is at 93 going on 94.

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