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Cotswold Caper

7th annual Run

3rd July 2012

Since we started the Cotswold Caper in 2005 we have grown steadily each year building on the stunning scenery and the lots of hard work by our members. This year we were worried as the recession had deepened. We actually finished up with just 4 fewer entries than last year.

 

As usual there were many contenders for the charity to select. Eventually after lots of discussion we opted for the Charity Rita had put forward. That of the National Star College at Ullenwood in Cheltenham which enables people with disabilities to realise their potential through personalised learning, transition & lifestyle services. The Star College had recently opened a Bistro which is normally staffed by the disabled students and as the College also owns a neighbouring field, it was an easy decision to start the Caper from there.

 

 

We were very privileged in that Jelfs Ventilation had again offered us some sponsor monies for the seventh year running. We were also able to secure a further sponsorship from Martin Pollard, a local car body repair company.

 

The Star Centre came and visited us giving the club an insight into what they do and how the pupils lives were changed by the simplest things. Anything that helped develope confidence and a sense of independence was on the agenda.

The next problem for the Caper Committee was to link up the start and finish venues with some interesting roads. The urban conurbation of Cheltenham and Gloucester stood in the way of a direct route and so it was decided to loop the Caper route around to the north taking it through Winchcombe and crossing the River Severn at Haw Bridge. This meant that this year’s route was a little longer than was ideal, but with entrants being taken through some very unspoiled parts of the Cotswolds, and with an interesting run through the Forest of Dean, the Committee decided to stick with the longer route finishing at the The Speech House, a former 17th Century hunting lodge in Coleford deep in the Forest.

 

 

With tourists visiting the Cotswolds from all over the world, the Caper has always taken full advantage of the narrow lanes which criss-cross the Cotswolds so that participants can drive through the quieter and lesser known areas of our wonderful countryside. Needless to say this year was no different and as the lanes are an integral part of this unique landscape, they were used whenever possible.

 

 

The very nature of these roads determines that they are navigated with care and the sometimes less-than-perfect road surfaces are treated with respect! Tackled at a sensible speed and navigated with care, these lanes do enhance the enjoyment of this glorious corner of England.

 

This year it was decided not to have a celebrity to wave the cars off but someone from the Star Centre itself. We were a little worried as getting youngsters out of bed on a Sunday morning might be problematic.

 

A week before the run we all set off for the rehearsal. As usual it was poor weather for us bit we looked forward to the good weather we knew would come on the day

 

 

Living up to its reputation it was again a beautiful morning and despite the early hour, we had an excellent turn out of members all ready to help. Signs and banners were quickly erected, the raffle set up and the bacon rolls sampled. As usual our famous Pink Ladies had every one doing their bit and were also busy displaying the huge amount of raffle prizes they had collected and were able to relax before the flood of entrants arrived. Once the queues started forming old friends met and the chat levels escalated. The raffle table was busy and in the end managed to coerce the sum of £780 from the entrants. Booking in was  also arranged and coffee etc was served. The Ullenwood catering staff prepared and sold the bacon butties and hot dogs.

All entrants gathered in the big field behind, ready to be started off  by Harry, one of the Centres star pupils. He actually decided to start them at the entrance, and appeared complete with Rally Board on the front of his wheelchair, and starters flag.  His enthusiastic flag waving ensured that there was no delay, all the cars having left by about10.45.

 

 

 

 

Despite a chilly wind, Harry, the College’s ambassador, flagged off nearly every entrant at the start from his wheelchair. With over 140 cars to get started it was a slight cause for concern that the starting process would become a little dragged out. However, with entrants taking a very relaxed attitude to their starting, no more than half a dozen cars queued at any one time.


My job was to set off early to photograph the first wheel wash. I waited with bated breathe and thought that the run must have been cancelled as it was a long time before the first car appeared. From there the floodgates (pardon the pun) opened. We even managed to get a car coming from the wrong direction into the ford! You can see the pictures here

The run covered beautiful areas of southern Cotswolds, followed by the Forest of Dean, also in Gloucestershire, ending up at Speech House. Here another large field was arranged for parking. Displayed around the entrance were10 different MGs, from every era, all  belonging  to Glos members which made a very impressive sight. Raffle prizes were snapped up and the Hamper again proved a success. I was disappointed as I didn't win the Whisky but it went to a good home.

 

 

At the end of another hard days works we all sojourned to the Apple Tree Inn in Minsterworth for a well earned relax and a pint.

 

Once again everyone who helped with this Cotswold Caper were well satisfied with the happy faces and the promises to return next year

 

 

One last task was to present the cheque for over £4000 to the Star Centre. They had told us that the money would be spent on an automatic lift for the new van they were buying to transport their students. This will mean many more students will be able to take trips where they were unable to before. This will help open their lives and exponentially increase their quality of life

 

 

 

On Thursday 13th September the cheque was presented at a club meeting

 

 

Next years Caper date was announced as June 30th, so please get your entries in early!! Fewer pot holes and a slightly shorter length are promised.

 

 

 

 

 

Comments from Entrants


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Please extend mine and my good ladies thanks for an excellent 2012 run. The beautiful Cotswold villages which we crisscrossed the A40 to see were amazing. We took in the town of Tewkesbury on route and then the views across Herfordshire from Ruardean towards the Black Mountains was spectacular.
Also don't let us forget the magnificent funds raised for the National Star Centre
Let me know when the bookings are being taken for 2013 as we'll be there.
Many thanks
Gordon
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Many thanks for the link to the photographs.
My wife and I really enjoyed the well-organised event and are now looking forward to next years - maybe we will have some sun then.
Best wishes,
David
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Some great photo's of this years Caper, please pass on our thanks to all at Glos MGOC who made the day such a success. We enjoyed ourselves immensely and on the whole we were blessed with some reasonable weather, in fact the ride home over the old Severn Bridge in glorious sunshine was the icing on the cake.
Kind regards, Paul, Paula and Olly the Border.

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Thanks for the photos, and for a most enjoyable and brilliantly organised day.
Please pass on my sincere thanks to all concerned for the enormous amount of hard work and attention to detail which once again made the day a great success for all of us. Also, congratulations to you all on the excellent amount you raised for the Star Centre.
Best regards,
Ken (Evans)
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Thank you for the access to the photos, we enjoyed the day very much and thought it was well organised.  We found the routing very accurate although we did see fellow participants going in the opposite direction on a number of occasions.  The route took us through some beautiful countryside much of which was new to us.  Hope to participate again next year.
Best Regards
Keith & Ruth Martin
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Thank you to everyone who made our very first ever Rally in our MGTD so enjoyable.
The team at the start were very welcoming and we really did appreciate you allowing us to have a run as a last minute entry.
Clearly a huge amount of effort went into the event by a lot of very dedicated club members – so please pass on our thanks to everyone concerned.
Sadly our engine decided to execute an unscheduled “lubrication evacuation”  all over the Green Dragon Pub car park around about mile 23 so we had to limp home to Stratford upon Avon.
It was great fun whilst it lasted and next time we have high hopes we might even finish!
Thank you to all who put so much work in
Ray & Suzie Coyte
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Firstly, congratulations to you and to the rest of the Glosmgoc team for yesterday's superb event.  Whilst the weather wasn't quite as kind to us as last year, it was mainly dry and  we were able to have our 'tops down' for most of the route. The occasional showers certainly did nothing to spoil our enjoyment of another excellent and well organised Caper.
Your chosen route was spectacular - you really are very lucky having such wonderful countryside on your doorstep.  At the finish point, you asked us to let you have our feedback on the 2012 event overall.  As you can probably gather we have very little negative feedback to give to you.
- I've posted our 'Expression of Interest' form for the 2013 Caper to you this morning.

Overall, well done to the glosmgoc team and look forward to meeting up with you again in 2013
Bob  
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Please convey huge thanks to everyone involved in planning, organising and running yesterday's excellent Cotswold Caper; without doubt it was one of the best road runs we have ever been on. It was obvious that a great deal of effort and expertise must have gone into putting the whole event together - and in making it happen on the day - and I'm sure all that hard work was very much appreciated by everyone who took part.

The start and finish locations were very well chosen - both a great opportunity to look at a wonderful range of MGs - and the route between them was also very enjoyable. It definitely kept us on our toes anyway! We went 'off-route' briefly for a lunch stop at the GWR at Toddington but quickly picked things up again in the afternoon, luckily with exactly 10 miles extra on the clock, so no great mental arithmetic was needed to follow the rest of the route! Not only did we discover some fascinating new places right on our doorstep but we also enjoyed exploring parts of the Forest of Dean we've not seen before.

All in all we had a great day, and we've already reserved next year's date in our calendar!

With very best wishes

Malcolm and Marion Nelson
Entrant number 87
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My wife and I much enjoyed the Caper starting at Star College and do thank the organisers for the very careful planning of route and clear instructions through extremely beautiful parts of Gloucestershire.  Cream tea was very welcome and delicious.
Our only comment is that it was a bit long because it took us over two hours to arrive at The Mill at Withington and we were not even half way. 
However, we know only too well it is hard to please everyone!
Sincere thanks to all for all the effort in a jolly day out.
Chris Mansfield.
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Thanks to you and all your willing helpers for Sunday.
I have attended all seven of your runs always greeted with the same
friendly welcome.
Please extend my thanks to all.
Also as discussed on Sunday afternoon I would very much appreciate
a copy of the purple one (FPJ204J) in the water splash.
Thanks again
Paul Green
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This is going to be a pretty boring email, as I have only superlatives to say about it.  The actual route was fantastic, lovely countryside, great little lanes and lots of changing direction, which we love.  This year, we hardly saw another MG (yes, we were on the right route) so didn't end up in the usual procession. 
The route directions were first-class.  Please pass on our compliments and thanks to the person/people who went to all that hard work.  You even provided directions around the road closure - however did you find out about that?

Thank you to the Gloucester Club for such a great day; even the weather wasn't too bad (bearing in mind how awful it's been) and the cream tea at the end really clinched it for me (Carolyn).  A fantastic Cotswold Caper, you have set yourself a problem for next year, with such a wonderful run.
Hope to see you next year.
Garry & Carolyn Bishop
Bristol MG Owners Club

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A rather late thank you for an excellent Cotswold Caper run
this year.The marshals and club organisers were friendly and very helpful.A lot of effort was put into the route planning and the route book with points of interest along the way.We stopped at Winchcombe for lunch and found an Old English Tearoom for a snack,it was an interesting place run by a Japanese family and we had Welsh rabbit, we thought we had stepped in a Harry Potter film at first.Perhaps we have an odd sense of humour.How ever we thoroughly enjoyed the run. Well-done to all of the team.
Best regards Mary Lou & John Ball.car 41
PS put us down for next year.
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