PRIDE OF LONGBRIDGE CANCELLED!
But the fans turn up anyway!
PRIDE OF LONGBRIDGE LONGBRIDGE, BIRMINGHAM, 16 APRIL
Pride of Longbridge’s 10th anniversary took place unofficially outside the plant it honours because freak weather conditions put a stop to the official event.
Heavy rain and snow overnight meant the Cofton Park venue was unusable, forcing the organisers to can this year’s event at 6am on the day of the show. Gemma Cartwright and husband Andy say that although cancelling the gathering was a bitter blow they did it to protect its future and to ensure classic owners stayed safe.
‘Any other choice would have led to the end of the event and none of us wanted that,’ says Gemma. ’Although POL is a very informal day out our prime focus is the safety of those attending and the second is to work with Birmingham City Council, the park’s owners. We made every effort to inform people via social media, local radio and other outlets but many were on their way, or already in Birmingham.’
As a result a spontaneous show erupted at the gates outside MG Motor UK’s current plant. The manufacturer allowed showgoers to park their cars
on its land, and even gave free tea and coffee to visitors, some of whom had slept in their cars since the early hours in order to take part. By 10.30am the weather had brightened up and those arriving found somewhere to put their cars, parked up and wandered around, ex-workers mixing with classic fans.
The spontaneous gathering outside the factory and the splinter events elsewhere in Birmingham more than made up for the official meeting’s cancellation. Pride of Longbridge 2016 was a success – even if it never officially happened. John Lakey
While several impromptu events took place after Cofton Park’s closure, the main action was focused on the area immediately outside MG Motor UK’s factory. Isabel Pearce from Sevenoaks in Kent is a Pride of Longbridge stalwart with her 1958 Austin Cambridge A55 MkI, which she has owned since 2001.
Among the clubs was the Fylde branch of the MG Owners’ Club, who’d driven down from Blackpool and weren’t going to let the weather spoil their fun.
Rob and Hazel Thomas with daughters Jessica and Olivia. The MG ZT 160 V6 is a family car and although the 1973 BGT is officially Rob’s it had been driven to the event by Jessica.
Simon Holt and Jo Jones from Sussex-based MG specialist MG Revival at the gates of Longbridge. Simon’s MGF Trophy 160 is the press car used by Top Gear in a road test in 2001.
Tony Osborne from Redditch with his 1938 Austin 12 New Ascot which he has owned for more than 16 years. Tony has rebuilt the engine and redone all the chromework.
Cambridge Oxford Owners Club members Colin Whitehead and Georgina Powell brought their Austin A55 MkII from Chester to the unofficial Pride of Longbridge gathering.