PCC Grand Gathering 2006

or “The Weather wasn’t as bad as it might have been!”
The venue for this years GG was Lacock Abbey near Chippenham, a National Trust property in Wiltshire. We went down there on the Friday with Pete and Viv Heighway. We met up with them just before noon at the Stockport Pyramid (yes we do have one, although its glass and not quite Egyptian…) Pete had worked out a route involving few motorways, in fact only about 10 miles out of 210 which I thought would takes ages- I suppose 5 ½ hours is but was much more relaxing on country roads particularly given Friday afternoon traffic. Took our mind off the weather forecast anyway.
Yeeehhhs (as Paxman would say)… the Weather Forecast. When a big event is coming up I will search out every weather forecast beforehand, looking for the one that is best. However they all Did Not Look Good for the Saturday. Friday evening, looking at these fancy maps on the telly, trying to work out where Swindon and Chippenham were…although ther was also going to be an Air Race at Longleat for us to compete with. Oh well try the bar out anyway. Funny how there are always lots of Panther People there. Dinner was good. And the wine.
Saturday morning dawned damp, and as organisers we set off early in convoy. Now I normally quite like following the DeVille but not at 70mph on a very wet and spray filled M4. A glass fibre body, lack of antilock and no roll bar does not fill me with confidence! Crawled round Chippenham but we found the place fairly easily… not so others. Our location was “The Pound” a walled field in the village- the whole of the village is National Trust.
On to building the area up with our usual boy scout impersonations. I started in full wet weather gear but first got too hot then realised is wasn’t raining as much as I thought so off with all that. Panthers started to trickle in with horror stories of how bad the traffic was outside which was a combination of the weather and the Air Show which was expecting 100,000 visitors- didn'’t they check with our website when they planned this, some people have no respect. And the odd phone call of “We’re at the Abbey, where the **** are you?” “Didn’t you see the signs?”
I did the gate to log people coming in. I kept thinking that lots of members of the public were approaching me to ask about the cars and the GG. Then as they walked past each time I remembered I was sat in front of the Gents… (No comments about Cruising the Cottages please!)
I tied the banner to a cycle stand then found out how breezy it was when the banner blew over. Conditions were that windy that the aforesaid Air Race was cancelled. We lost 2 banner poles that snapped in the gusts.
However back to the show. The Pound filled up nicely and we put up a good display, the cars looking very nice in curves. Some even had their roof down. Very impressed that Marc from Belgium got up at 3am that day and caught the Eurotunnel to join us. Dedication indeed
We inveigled the Manager of the Abbey to judge the Best Engine Bay competition (next year the entrants will have to eat their dinners off the engine to show how clean they are) which was won by our retiring Chairman Terry Borton leading from the front.
Meanwhile, the British stiff upper lip was on display as It Was Not Raining (just) Val did wonderfully with the Regalia Stall, as did the Ladies on the Tea Tent. Thanks Bruno for the parts Stall, always invaluable.
The other Awards, voted democratically as always:
Best Lima- Graham Milligan.
Best Kallista- Terry Price
Best Other Panther- Ray Bridges Deville (stiff competition in that one).
Furthest UK Member travelled- David Prag from Halifax.
Furthest Continental Member- Marc Astaes from Belgium.
Best engine bay- Terry Borton. And we had a tour of the Abbey which was fascinating. It has been used for many film and TV Series including Harry Potter. All we needed was a Spell on the Weather….
Good to see lots of old friends and made some new ones also. Thanks all for coming and putting on a good show

In the Evening we had a Dinner Dance in the Corus Hotel Swindon. The entertainment was provided by Paul Salvage who was a winner of Stars In Their Eyes. He was the best entertainer we have had for some time, giving medleys of Elvis, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, etc
Although his normal set finished at midnight, Paul returned shortly after with his guitar for half an hour to prove he did not need the backing tracks- a bonus for those who stayed up (may have helped that I had just paid him, but I think the fact he had played for others in the audience before was a deciding factor) A good time had by all
Andy Stobbie

These photo's kindly supplied by Terry and Mick Laplain.

Photos of class winners at the Panther car club Grand Gathering. Supplied by Terry Borton

Thanks to Andy Stobbie for these one's.