Issue 31 – October 2008



Stars of the Sussex Rally



Another bumper edition – thanks to all contributors – please keep up the good work. August saw Judy and I back from France in time for the Pip & Vic’s Sussex Rally Brilliantly different as usual.

Pip had organised a tombola at the show in aid of a local hospice. The stars of the rally were Ellie May, Millie Jo, Connor and Sydney who manned the stall full time and sold out before Sunday lunch raising £250. The adults just watched – well done you 4. So sorry that it is to be the last one, but as they have organised one for the last 7 years, ever since the Club was formed, I suppose it had to come to an end sometime. Thank you Pip & Vic for 6 great rallies (we missed 1).

On 3rd September, 24 Club members joined Mary to support her in giving George a send off we shall all remember with affection (it is not everyone who is cremated in a Benimar.) – see pages 14/15 I was in discussions with Tregano UK with regard to Benimar exhibiting at the NEC this November and allowing the Club to be represented on the stand. They were in favour of this but then Benimar decided that it was not the right time to relaunch the Benimar brand in the UK due to the current economic climate (can’t say I blame them) but they may exhibit at the show in February 2009 if conditions improve.

With Knaus in trouble, Joint closing their Spanish factory and Autotrail on a 3 week month things are certainly serious.

If things turn out we will need some Club members to attend on the various days, Unfortunately Judy and I may well be in Spain in February, so will not be available. If you think you can help let me know and I will keep you updated.

Membership is showing welcome signs of an upturn with 10 new couples joining since the last issue.

With this issue is the latest edition of the Handbook, and a membership renewal form – yes it’s that time of year again. Also a membership application form to keep in your ‘van in case you see a Benimar and they are not members.

The next issue is due out sometime in January. Input to me by December 18th at the latest please

Ron Smith



Those of you who attended the AGM may remember that, in my address, I spoke about the many original members who have since changed their motorhome for another marque, but choose to remain in the Club because of the good “club spirit”. I went on to mention the outstanding actions of Honor Hewitt (and Tim) in repatriating Mary & George’s Benimar from Portugal when George was taken ill.

I announced that there would be an Award for Club Spirit and that it would go to Honor.

At the Sussex Rally, I was pleased to present Honor with an engraved wine cooler (together with a suitable bottle).

Ron Smith

PS This is not an annual award but something that will only be given in exceptional circumstances



The threat of midges made us think very hard about island hopping in our motorhome in Scotland, but luckily, it did not put us off and as the article in July’s Benimar Owners Magazine told, we had an amazing holiday. We were relatively fortunate where the little blighters were concerned, however, because we went in early September, and not in the peak midge season which is June – August. Tiny as they are, midges DO bite, and leave a nasty itchy scab, which takes time to heal. Now Kevin has buffalo hide, through which nothing penetrates, however, I am not so lucky and clearly have an invisible notice on my body which says “all flying insects please feel free to bite any time, any place, anywhere”.
In theory, Scottish campsites by the sea should suffer less because of the sea breezes. In reality, whilst they are less bothered than non-coastal sites, there will still be a few midges around. However, we found it tolerable, and there are things you can do which DO help. The day time was fine, the problem came early evening – 5 pm-ish onwards. If the weather was good and we wanted to sit out in an evening, we pulled the motorhome’s awning out, and lit several sticks of incense both citronella and lavender, which was extremely effective. The smoke and fragrance from the incense was held under the awning, and we were able to sit out trouble free. The campfire also helped a lot, however, both you and the motorhome do end up smelling of wood smoke!
The other thing you can do is to use Avon Skin-So-Soft Dry Oil spray (blue bottle), which, whilst not being designed as an insect repellent, if used dilligently, does help.

In summary, pick your time of year, go prepared, and don’t let the possibility of midges put you off.

Picture above – Sunset, motorhome with awning out, campfire burning, 6 pm-ish, Muasdale Touring Park, Kintyre., September 2007

Catherine Simpson

PS Apologies to Catherine for calling her Christine in the last issue …..ed


Daily Mail Article Tue 8th July 2008

It had a leaking roof and a cold shower but Edwina Currie fell in love with her new camper van

By Edwina Currie

A year on and the smoking ban has had dozens of consequences: 400,000 people have given up, 175 million fewer pints have been drunk in British pubs – and my husband and I have bought a camper van.

I may be a retired health minister, but my husband, John, remains a dedicated smoker and insists on being able to puff in comfort when he is on holiday.

Not for him sneaking out of the hotel for a quiet ciggie in the rain. This summer, he told me, we would have to find a smoke-friendly getaway.

Cosy and cheap: Edwina Currie has grown to love her camper van ‘Vanessa’

And so that is why we found ourselves at Glossop Caravans, perusing the very latest in mobile homes. After all, John had reasoned, how better to get around the ban than by buying a mobile home in which he could light up at leisure.

What’s more, he added, we’d be able to take cheaper, greener holidays – a major bonus in this age of crunched credit and global warming.

At first, I couldn’t believe my husband was suggesting we holiday in a souped-up van just so he could indulge his bad habit.

But I started to come round when I laid eyes on Vanessa – as we named her – an all-singing, all-dancing camper van, festooned with gadgets, from a satellite dish and a rear-view camera, to central heating and a built-in awning.

We were sold on her, and after a quick tutorial on how to work her various gadgets and gizmos – which went in one ear and out the other – we were merrily driving home in a £20,000, second-hand Benimar Anthus.

The honeymoon didn’t last. A tank of diesel cost us a whopping £90, the dogs didn’t warm to the cramped conditions and began to sulk, and my husband struggled terribly with the chemical toilet, opting for a nearby bush instead.

And that was before we’d even set off on holiday. Perhaps we could live with the smoking ban after all, I suggested.

After going over an atlas and some debate, we decided we’d lose our camper virginity in Ireland. So we set off with everything from fishing rods to DVDs clattering around in the back.

Camper vans are perfectly comfortable if you know how to operate them and desperately uncomfortable if you don’t. We were completely out of our depth.

Stopping en route to the ferry in South Wales, we failed to switch on the various contraptions that make mobile living tolerable. The result was a cold shower, a warm fridge and no gas. We might as well have been camping.

The next morning, I couldn’t find the cereal bowls I’d bought on eBay, so we had to eat our breakfast out of a mug.

The rain was hammering down like a machine gun on the roof, which was leaking (I hadn’t shut the skylight properly) and our cramped living quarters smelled of the wet dogs. It was a gruelling initiation.

At the Fishguard ferry terminal we had to be weighed – and it was bad news. Vanessa was declared too obese for the fast ferry, so we were relegated to the old tub which takes twice as long to cross the Irish Sea.

By the time we arrived at our pretty campsite in County Wicklow, we were ragged, dirty wrecks.

Unfortunately, the water tank was empty. Before we could have a wash or flush the loo, we’d have to fill it. But we couldn’t get the cap off the inlet pipe, so we had to dismantle the side of the van and fill up the tank by hand using a bucket instead.

I gave up and used the grubby campsite toilets – a truly traumatic experience.

But the real misery of camper van life is that you can’t dry anything out. Our towels were soon as sodden and sorry as the dogs and everything smelled damp.

Britain may have a smoking ban but Edwina’s husband John (pictured) refused to go on a holiday where he couldn’t have a cigarette

Were we really going to be able to survive a fortnight of this? It was during one of these moments of despair that I discovered the shower had stopped draining.

Without my specs and stark naked, I found a screwdriver and set about trying to unblock the plug – all the while, I soon discovered, in full view of a child staring at me from the caravan next door.

The indignities stacked up by the hour. Next it was a stray dog who took advantage of the van’s flimsy door, barged his way in, and then ‘marked his territory’ by the driver’s seat.

After this, we decided nothing else could possibly go wrong. But then we went exploring for the day, carefully leaving our ‘This pitch is reserved’ notice on our plot. We returned to discover somebody had casually driven right over it and pinched our spot.

Powerscourt Waterfall: Part of County Wicklow’s beautiful scenery

After another night of being eaten alive by the midges, we decided to move on.

‘Moving on’ in a camper van is also more difficult than it sounds. Everything that isn’t packed away bounces around and turns into a potentially lethal projectile – and the dogs hated the way Vanessa lurched and lolled along the winding roads of rural Ireland.

But just as we thought we couldn’t have picked a worse holiday, the sun came out. We found a new campsite, my husband started tinkering with his fishing gear and I started planning a bike ride.

Life slowed down and I began to feel unusually, blissfully lazy. Despite all our beginners’ mishaps, I was really starting to enjoy myself.

I found the missing bowls – and filled them with a half-decent spaghetti bolognese.

Then we began to work out how to operate the toilet and the shower. I got used to the broken nails, the grimy feet and the frizzy hair. I also began to appreciate quite how friendly and helpful our fellow campers were. Most importantly, I began to feel at home.

Given the credit crunch, I also began to appreciate how cheap it was – at least compared to a hotel.

Irish campsites charge a pittance and are in lovely locations. By contrast, the splendid guest house at Bantry in County Cork, which we’d booked when I’d had enough of the soggy towels and broken toilets, cost us a small fortune – although the warm bath was worth every cent.

But Vanessa did have one more surprise to spring on us: she is a devil to park. It’s not her fault: the power-steering is brilliant and the rearview camera allows you to see whatever’s lurking behind. The problem was that nearly all public car parks have a height limit and we just couldn’t squeeze her in.

After touring a number of car parks – all with the same height restrictions – we gave up and made for the beach. There, my husband got out his fishing rod, tried his luck with the local sea bass, and asked a fellow angler about the car park problem. Apparently, it’s all down to gipsies. Nobody wants them to park up overnight.

This seems mighty unfair – both on the travellers, and on tourists like us, who are simply looking for a place to fill up the chemical toilet and unblock the drain in the nude.

In any event, by the time we presented ourselves at the ferry port to return home, we were seasoned campers, if a little wild in appearance.

I’ve managed to repair the breakages, blank out the less pleasant memories, and found my way around Vanessa. The dogs have discovered their favourite sleeping spots and so have we, curled up like mice in the cosy bunk.

We have been cheap, green – and John has been able to smoke with impunity.

I think we might do it again.

PS Pity the photograph that was used showed a non-Benimar – Ed


Lincoln Show Rally Report

Roy Gill

Arrived Lincoln Showground on the Wednesday prior to the Show. Checked in, but had some difficulty finding our area. The map provided showed the whole rally area, with nothing to show were individual rallies were placed. Information had one copy with which they would not part. Being resourceful, we found our patch and pegged out the area and placed the direction markers. Unfortunately the markers were not the usual Benimar ones, just some I knocked together myself. As a result some of our members had a little difficulty finding our area. Benimar members are resourceful.

Thursday the members started to arrive and as at Peterborough, the first van arrived as we sat down to eat. Thankfully the weather was okay and the ground was firm for the vans.

Friday bright and sunny, had the coffee morning and welcomed the new members John and Angie Botterill, then off went the members to the showground to spend their hard earned cash. During the day we were treated to two displays by The Red Arrows display team, whose base Scampton is a mile across the fields. We presumed they were rehearsing for the RAF Waddington Airshow over the weekend. The evening was spent nattering with a little liquid refreshment.

The weather on Saturday was showery, not really a day for outdoor activity, in the morning there was a heavy shower, apparently the stall holders were all alone. The evening show in the arena was marred by the cold weather and the occasional showers.

We had the coffee morning on Sunday morning and checked the quiz, won by John and Angie Botterill. Nichol Thomson had a devious plot, that every one would claim no points, but he omitted to tell John and Angie. 0/10 for communication Nichol. The weather on Sunday was a bit dodgy with some low cloud and the odd shower. Despite the weather the arrangements wet ahead for the communal meal in the evening. We had our awning and Ian and Agnes Johnson’s awning together to form a shelter. Needless to say the weather improved after the meal. The meal was followed by a session of putting the world to rights, ably assisted by wisdom coming from the bottle.

Monday morning was spent packing our goods and chattels, thankfully the weather was fine. Once we were packed, the fond farewells were made. At least the ground was firm so there were no problems departing.

Some of us went on to Thrybergh in Yorkshire for a walking rally organised by Paul and Carol Smeaton.

I think most departed with essentials purchased at the show.



John Botterill

Barcombe Mills Country Show Rally

Friday 8th Aug saw Angie & I arrive at Barcombe Mills rally field to find Pip & Vic who were running the rally and Roy & Sylvia all set up. We had met Roy & Sylvia before at the Lincoln show but this was our first non show rally. Pip & Vic made us welcome so we settled in and soon more vans arrived including Ron & Judy direct from France. On the Friday evening we had a get together with introductions to everyone at Pip & Vics motorhome which was overseen by Merlin their African Grey parrot. What a character he is with tricks and mimicry. He was in the motorhome looking out of the window and tapping on it to get attention. The window looked like a television screen with Merlin centre stage and he knew it!

Saturday morning started off with sunshine so we went off to see what the fair was about. It was a nostalgic trip down memory lane with the old time fairground rides and side stalls, even a hall of mirrors. This then led on to various stalls including our BOC one for charities and trade stands, then steam engines and steam roller all working away. Plenty of more displays from wild west shootouts,WW2 military vehicles, Land Rover 4 X 4 course, JCB rail laying and a fantastic Rolls Royce hand built by a local engineer with the engine taken from a Spitfire aircraft powering it.

We saw a lovely shire horse and foal, gun dogs and a horse & hounds display, vintage stock cars and kit cars including one that could do 0 to 60 in 3.11 seconds, a tad faster than our motorhome! Pip & Vic had organised a tombola stall and we all volunteered to do an hour each on it. As it worked out us adults were superfluous, the youngsters Ellie May, Connor, Millie Jo & Sydney took on the selling and raised £250 for the Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice which is the charity that the fair is organised to raise funds for which is a really worthwhile cause.

By the afternoon the rain and wind set in so we retired to our motorhome. Despite the weather we still had a barbecue on Saturday night and with two vans and awnings close together and tarpaulins and gazebo we looked like tent city shanty town but it kept us all dry. Five BBQ’s cooked all our own offerings and Pip & Vic made salads, bread etc. and a cherry crumble and a mincemeat one with custard or cream and then they BBQ’d fruit kebabs to finish, delicious! We had to guess the weight of a fruit cake made and donated by Dawn at 50p a go which raised £10 and was won by Gary at 4kgs but it was on condition that it was cut up for everyone to have a piece and it was a very well made and tasty fruit cake. We then had a raffle which raised £23.

Ron made a presentation of the “Spirit of the Club” which was an engraved wine cooler to Honor for all that she had done to help Mary & George.

We all left the BBQ in time to see a good fireworks display.

Sunday morning Roy had to be up early as his awning was blowing away and he just managed to save it. We heard that quite a few ralliers were up in the night winding in awnings, ours stayed out but kept Angie awake with the billowing and flexing but I slept through it! At least Sunday was dry but windy so we all went around the show to see some of the attractions we had missed on Saturday. A dozen members went out for a walk to the local pub for a meal with an amusing incident on the way but more of that from Ron who was there! We had friends from Shoreham visiting so had our lunch in the van but understand the food was very good at the pub. What is it about B.O.C. members and pubs?

Some members left on the Sunday but quite a few of us stayed on till Monday morning. Ron & Judy came round to our van on Sunday evening and we taught them to play canasta, Angie & Ron against Judy & I. Angie & Ron wiped the floor with us so it’s the last time I will teach him to play another game! Still it’s good fun with plenty of friendly banter going on. How could Judy & I have a -500 and -465 score?

Monday morning we all got together to leave after a really enjoyable rally which raised £150 in camping fees for the charity from the 11 vans attending.

Thanks again to Pip & Vic for organising such a good rally.


A politician was visiting a mental hospital. He asked the senior doctor how they sorted out the degree of insanity. “We fill a bath with water and place alongside it a bucket, a pint mug and a teaspoon and ask them to empty the bath”.

“Ha! I see” said the politician “The normal people use the bucket”.

“No” said the doctor “normal people pull the plug out. Would you like a bed by the window?”



Ron Smith

On the Sunday of the Sussex Rally 12 of us walked to a pub for Sunday lunch. Part of the walk was alongside the river Ouse and when we came to a bridge I suggested that people pause on the bridge for a photo.

Dave Hill was wearing his favourite bush hat. It was quite windy and the hat landed in the river and then proceded to be blown upstream.

Dave just stood there, close to tears.

Vic leapt into action, ran across the bridge and found a piece of wood just right for rescue work and then, steadying himself on a young tree, hung out to hook the soggy hat out of the river.

Dave was very pleased to see the safe return of his precious hat – but he refused to put it back on his head.



Janice McWilliams

Arriving at Twinwood it was a surprise to be directed to a different site from that of the year before. The new area was a field on the opposite side of the main arena. The new placement had good access to the ‘facilities’ and the main entertainment.

There were 13 vans at this year’s Bedford rally. The marshals for this occasion were Graham and Christine who greeted everyone on the Friday night with a meal of corned beef hash and jam roly poly, and very nice it was too, a hearty thanks from us all I’m sure.

There was an increase in the entertainment provided this year, which included a ‘Wall of Death’. The usual music, dancing and stalls selling items from the era were on offer throughout the festival. Of course the weekend would not be complete without many of the people there dressing up in the costumes of the time.

It was lovely to see Mary and George and thanks to everyone who helped to make the weekend an enjoyable one for them.

hOn Sunday Bruce and Janet laid on a lovely buffet lunch for everyone as they were celebrating their 40th Wedding Anniversary. It was a gesture that was much appreciated and those present were able to present them with a bottle of wine and a beautiful orchid plant. It was a double celebration as it was also Sylvia’s birthday and she was presented with a bouquet of flowers.

The Bank Holiday weekend was an enjoyable one. The weather, however, was not as good this year as last but overall the rain held off during the day and didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. The daily flypast was as spectacular as ever and some enthusiasts managed to get some really good photographs.

Most stayed until Tuesday morning and said their farewells until the next rally. One point that should be made was that there were three children present, and a special little thank you to them as they were not only well behaved but also very helpful. Finally not forgetting our four legged friends who were with us this weekend they too were well behaved.

Twinwood once again proved to be an enjoyable and memorable weekend.



Benimar were all set to exhibit at the NEC in October but at the last minute decided that, due to the economic climate at present, it was not the right time to relaunch Benimars in the UK. Disappointing news but I can understand their reasons.

They still intend to advertise the new models (see Sept issue of MMM) and now intend to exhibit at the NEC in Feb 2009.

I had been negotiating for the Club to have a presence on the Benimar stand. They are keen on the idea but we don’t know when they will relaunch – it all depends on how the economic climate pans out. Benimar did exhibit at Dusseldorf and had a very successful show.

They are currently negotiating with at least 3 more dealers – more news on that when I have it.

Meanwhile the range has been augmented by a lift top Renault based ‘panel ‘van called the CANTABRIA new for 2009 see front page.. There are 2 models, both 4 berth. The 010 has an end kitchen and the 020 a side kitchen.

Another panel ‘van, this time a high top based on the Fiat Ducato is the BENIVAN.

The TESSORO is another ‘van not yet seen in the UK. This one is a coachbuilt on the 2.2 litre Ford Transit base, upgraded from the Tesseo. There are 3 models, all 3 berth.

The SPORT, also on a Ford Transit with 2.4 litres as an option to the 2.2, offers various layouts for families in a 7.07 metres length.

PERSEO and EUROPE ranges continue. With quite a few changes inside and out.



This is a concept similar to France Passion, but in the UK.

A new club that offers free overnight parking at over 200 pubs, serving real ale and good food, around the UK.

They will be pleased if you buy a drink, or even a meal, but it is not compulsory.

For more details, visit their website


Alan Williams

Your membership is £12 and is now due.

Payment methods – To cut down club costs and administration time I would urge you to set up a standing order. Its very easy and once you have completed the form and sent it to your bank, your bank will automatically pay your membership every year, so you don’t have to! You can also pay on line by completing the account details as below or you can send a cheque in the post. Just remember failure to pay by the 31st December will result in your membership being cancelled. Therefore you will be required to rejoin, paying the additional £2 joining fee on top of the renewal fee of £12. So do not delay, send today!

Standing Order – Complete a standing order form and send it to your bank

Online payment – Benimar Owners Club sort code 40 40 25 and account number 91380001

Cheques should be made payable to “Benimar Owners Club” and crossed.

The following list of members have already set up Standing Orders and payment will be taken on the 15th December 2008

Stephen & Judith Alcock

Graham & Chris Baines

Eddie & Jenny Chambers

Graham & Susan Dinsdale

Roy & Sylvia Gill

Roger & Jean Jacques

Ian & Agnes Johnson

Mel & Barbara Jones

Vic Paine & Pip Rowe

Mary Pennington

John & Jean Porter

Christoph & Heidi Von Kurthy

David & Moya Warner

Jo & Alan Williams

Payments made on line last year

Roger & Dianne Gooding

Dave & Evelyn Hill

Brian & Margaret Lincoln

Introduction of ‘New Members’ and Promoting the Benimar Owners Club

Please remember a Prize for the member that introduces the most new Benimar Owner members will be award with “?” at the AGM 2009 so if you see a Benimar, STOP THEM and give them an application form – don’t forget to write your name on the form before you hand it to them so I know who introduced them to the club! You can print extra forms from the website. Forms are under Membership details – New & Expired Membership Forms.

Ron Smith was going to join Easirent, BCS and Benimar on the stand at the NEC to help with promoting the Benimar Owners Club, however Benimar pulled out at last minute due to the credit crunch and are looking to start the campaign in the new year. I think this is a great opportunity to join forces with the makers of Benimar and UK importers and urge any club members who can spare a day to go along to one of the shows to help promote the Benimar Owners Club, to contact Ron for further information.

New members

A warm welcome to the following new members introduced by the BOC Web-Site since April

Paul & Susan Hollingsbee from Canterbury

Graham & Susan Dinsdale from North Yorks

Gayna & Brian Leggott from Southend-on-Sea

Timothy & Meryl Clark from Leicestershire

Anthony & Elizebeth Sydenham from Shropshire

Ritson Gillings & Jean Whitelock of West Sussex

Carylann Williamson & Paul Moslin from Dumfries & Galloway

Brian Johnson & Crystal Banks from Norfolk

Thomas & Elaine Ball from Halifax

David & Sally Hurrell from Leeds

Membership stands at 172 (85 Couples & 2 Single’s)

AGM 2009 – Resolution to change the Constitution

Request to change the constitution to allow ‘Global Membership’

Reasons, to increase club funds and allow global members to benefit from our unique Benimar forum and magazine allowing overseas friendships, holiday motorhome exchanges and overseas rallies organized by our ‘global membership base’. Membership for overseas should be £20.00 per couple to cover increased overseas postage.

New Club Gazebo

After the Whitstable rally, our old gazebos were bolted back together but were in need of replacement. We struggled at the Sussex rally BBQ under two motorhome awnings with the use of some tarpaulin in between. However, after several down pours and members getting wet we needed to put the club funds to good use and we finally agreed that we do need to replace the club gazebos.

As some of you are aware, I with the help of Graham & Lisa have spent a lot of time trying to find suitable gazebo replacements. The problem we have had is finding something stronger than what we already have. We could have spent £500 on a gazebo but would have had to replace them after a couple of years due to the poor construction. The best solution in order to invest in the future of the club was to agree to buy two 3m x 3m Industrial gazebo so we can split them between motorhomes at a cost of £1200.00 for the two. As it’s a lot of money, I contacted Paul from BCS who has very kindly donated a couple of hundred pounds towards them. We have also contacted Jeff from Trigano UK, makers of Benimar and Nick Hanley from Easirent to help fund our purchase and we are hopeful that we may get a contribution towards them in the near future. It is extremely important to old & new members to have a neutral meeting point at rallies for us all to gather and enjoy each others company. We will keep the old gazebos until they are completely exhausted, but with the support of the new stronger ones hopefully we will get a little more use out of them. The new gazebos were used for the first time at the Glen Miller festival and a good time was had by all. (See pictures in the magazine)

BOC Rallies

Having all enjoyed the Sussex rally in August; sadly we learnt that after seven years, Pip & Vic are no longer planning future Sussex rallies. May we take this opportunity to thank them both for all their support and hard work and may we learn from this that we need new members to come forward to hold rallies during the year.

Jo & I held our first Whitstable Seaside Rally in May 2008 together with Pete & Vi. We had 16 motorhomes attend. We put on fun & games, but that was our choice. We all had a lot of fun organising the rally and hope to hold another in the future. Rallies can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. The main thing you need to research is a suitable venue to allow Motorhomes to stay over night, with Elson point and fresh drinking water. This can be farmland, rally fields, campsites, local fun day events etc. The rest is up to your own discretion. You can allow members to enjoy the natural beauty or you can decide to include communal BBQ’s and / or quizzes. Don’t feel that you have to do everything yourselves, it will help reduce the pressure if you can find another club member to assist you in your rally. We have at present 84 Motorhome couples so maybe some of you can start thinking about organising new rallies. If you require any further help on setting up a rally you can contact any of the committee to help point you in the right direction. Names & numbers can be found in the front of your magazine.



Roy Gill

Camping for our family started in the late 1960’s, like most we started with a tent, this we hired from the Sports and Social Club of Glaxo (where I served my sentence). The first trip was to Stratford upon Avon. The afternoon glorious, sunny weather in a rowing boat on the river, had some food and then to a campsite at Broadway to stay for a few days. In those days there was no need to book. The field we were in was full of tents, during the night the storm came, which necessitated several trips out to hammer home the pegs. The children heard nothing. Only a few hardy souls remained in the morning, the rest had departed during the night, as we did once we had a meal. Home. With an introduction like that, why did we continue camping?

The following year we bought a frame tent and feeling adventurous went to France. For the first year not far into France, crossed to Cherbourg and to Brehal, not far from Granville on the Cherbourg Peninsula. It was here we had our introduction to French unisex toilets, quite an eye opener. We stayed in the general area with a trip to Mont St Michel.

We must have enjoyed it for we went back to France the next year, this time to near to St Nazaire. This was in the days of no plastic, only travellers cheques and there was a run on the dollar. All the banks closed and it was time to head for the ferry. When we arrived in France, money was changing at 13 francs to the pound and because we needed the money for fuel and food, the first bank we found that was open, we had to settle for 8 francs to the pound. We were in an Austin Cambridge, not much money. Petrol, we could only afford the cheapest grade, not much in the way of octane, engine pinking at every bit of an incline. We made home, we sold that car after that trip.

A Volkswagen Variant, estate version of the beetle was the next purchase. With that we headed for Paris – Bois de Boulogne, arrive before noon we were told. We didn’t, the site was full, wait behind the Italian car plus about a dozen and we would be taken to the sister site to the east of Paris. We were led by two students in a 2CV, some journey, all trying to keep up with the lead car and not knowing our destination. Not something I would like to repeat. A French child watching us unpack the car could not quite make out the car. The engine was at the rear, but low slung so there was an area similar to the modern hatchback and no engine in the front. The child ran to tell his father that the car had no engine.

The last year of the Variant, 1973, we did not go to France, fuel problems and OPEC. Seems to sound a chord with 2008.

In 1974 we bought our first camper van, a bay windowed VW Eurovette. About this time Bank Holidays were spent with Mary and George Pennington, Shirley and Harry Lord, also with bay windowed VW Campervans, plus two, sometimes more other couples all with children. So there really was quite a gang. The highlight of the weekends, George brought a 36 gallon keg of beer, a gas cylinder and a font, not much risk of being thirsty. One evening we were sat around the keg, Mary slipped and tipped over the table supporting the beer. Needless to say the priority of the “gentlemen” was to save the beer. The Easter weekends could be a little chilly as we used to go to Limefitt Park on Kirkstone Pass in Lakeland. That campsite is more upmarket these days. The bar was in a barn with coloured plastic buckets suspended from the ceiling to catch the water. Somewhere I have a cine film of Mary fastening down the groundsheet in a blizzard. Plus the Camping Gaz bottles used to freeze. We used to sit around the beer chewing the fat all wrapped up in sweaters and polybags against the cold. Were we brave or what?

We were at Bolton le Sands, not far from Morecambe, where Sylvia had her 40th birthday. I think it is fair to say that Sylvia will not forget that birthday quickly. We tossed her in a blanket, her screams were something to behold.

For the Queen’s Jubilee year, we went to Chester, this campsite we went to once or twice, referred to it as Farmer Giles. Small site, level with one toilet and sink. The toilet was unique, when having finished whatever it was you were in for, pull the chain and you received a shower. There was no lock, so you looked through the window to check occupancy.

For the celebrations, we decked out our area with bunting and out came the 36 gallon keg. A New Zealand couple were on the site, so they joined in the celebrations . I sometimes wonder what they thought of that night.

These get-togethers went on for about eight years and two campervans. The children were married and we went back to cars. All very well, but we missed the camping life, so we went back to another VW campervan, the water cooled rear engine one. This van had a ‘fridge, luxury. The other vans did not have a ‘fridge, in France a man came around in the morning selling ice, which was put in the cool box. Back to the vans, back to the Bank Holiday sessions again. After the VW we next had a coachbuilt, luxury, toilet and ‘fridge. This an Autosleeper Talisman, not turbo. We had that for four years then an “A” class Pilote.

The big move was four years later when the Benimar came on the scene and we joined the Benimar Owners Club. We were a little apprehensive about joining the club, visions of saluting the flag and too much in the way of organisation. Whereas, it was the best thing we ever did, having met a great group of like minded people, who just want to have a good time in good company . The success of the Club is due in no small way to President Ron and the First Lady Judy. Ron it was who laid the foundations of a good Club. May it remain so, but it needs the membership to partake in the activities and use the Website Forum and the Newsletter to keep the membership informed. Long may it continue.


WPC 2008

Three more entries – Winter in Minnesota from Helen & Roger Foster, Loo search from Roy Gill and a rude one from Jane and Geoff Perry (should have gone to Pip really).

That makes only 6 entries – pathetic – what do you all do on holiday?j

WTPC 2008

Pip Rowe is running a parallel competition – this one being the “Worst Taste Postcard Competition”. So send in the most disgusting postcards that you can find. She has requested that you put them in an envelope so that they do not offend Vic (or her mother !).


Ian, at RvTex, reminds you all not to forget to have an annual damp check. If you don’t the consequences can be quite expensive. If you visit their website there is a slide show of a Benimar having a new roof fitted.



Graham Baines

After leaving the Lincoln Showground on Monday, 8 brave souls made their way to Thrybergh Country Park in South Yorkshire to meet up with Paul and Carol Smeeton, our walking guides/Marshals for the next few days.

After everyone had settled in, we opted for what turned out to be a rather damp amble around the lake. By the way, what Paul termed an ‘amble’ was the furthest Chris and I had walked in the last 6 months! Nevertheless, it was a very picturesque stroll taking in a fair bit of wildlife on the lake until our refreshing but thankfully short -lived shower.

After tea we gathered in Roy and Sylvia’s new Suncamp safari room for a chinwag and to discuss the following days plans.

Tuesday. Ate a hearty? cooked breakfast to sustain us (me) for the challenge ahead. From the site we walked along the A631 towards the village of Hooton Roberts, we went down a fairly overgrown footpath with Roy beating down the undergrowth with his Brolly (he looked like the chap from Coast!) At the bottom we crossed over a ford where Paul held court to explain it’s local name ‘Dead Horse Ford’. Apparently many years ago a horse was being led down the lane and across the ford towards Hooton Roberts and slipped on the pebbles and fell. In the slippery and very cold water it could not regain it’s footing and sadly they were unable to rescue it.

From there a brisk climb up the lane and farm track liberally decorated with bright red poppies and other wild flowers until we made the hilltop with superb views overlooking Old Denaby. Now, it was a welcome descent into the village and to the old ferry crossing to Mexborough (now a bridge). Paul pointed out the high water mark from the recent severe floods, which had left canal boats high and dry in fields and many caravans and motorhomes flooded or lost. On now to the lower end of Mexborough, here we turned left along the canal towpath to Mexborough Station. We walked through the tunnel at the station and onto the banks of the River Don, following the winding river route as far as the Autocruise factory. Here we had a quick spy through the fence to see what was cooking since the takeover/rescue by Swift. We espied a few Panel van conversions not unlike the Swift Mondial (but who was making which for who?). Passing a very large bakery with the distinction of being the world’s largest producer of Bagels! Carol spotted what looked like something from the 1960’s Sci Fi film ‘The Blob’. It turned out to be a huge quantity of dough which had been tipped into a bin and was still ‘rising’ quite merrily.

Turning away from the river we crossed the bridge over the canal and stopped in a little park for a refreshment break. Parking our bot’s on various seat / sculptures our (my) legs were thankful for the rest. After our lunch break we carried on towards the remains of the old Dearne and Dove canal, which we crossed and turned left to pick up a footpath down the side of Swinton station and headed on towards Kilnhurst.

On reaching the outskirts of Kilnhurst which, by the way, was Carol’s birth place, we turned left and headed over the canal bridge, then right to follow a path twixt the canal and the river into Kilnhurst village. En-route we passed an impressively carved tree trunk where the group stopped awhile to admire the beautiful images of birds and fish. Back onto the main road we followed the road back to Hooton Roberts.

Finally we made our return to the path over the ford and thence to the campsite. On the way I just couldn’t resist a picture of the ‘crinklies’ passing the ‘recycling point’, for which I will no doubt pay in due course !

The walk had covered about 6 to 7 miles, and although it was the furthest I had walked in many a year, there were no aches and pains the next day.

On our return we rejoined Mary and George and meandered up to the lakeside café where creamed teas were eagerly consumed. Ron of course had more serious things on his mind. Once again we spent a pleasant evening together with refreshments and much chat! Or was it the other way round?

Wednesday. The girls had decided to support the Crafts and Activities day in the paddock adjoining the campsite so fewer walkers today! We left on the same route as yesterday. But, upon reaching Old Denaby, we didn’t take the lane to Mexborough but went further into the village then turned right up into Denaby woods and towards what is known locally as Conisborough Crags. From here we could see as far as Emley Moor and the majestically high TV mast covering the Yorkshire Television area. It is the tallest ‘free standing’ structure in the UK at 328m (a.g.l), that`s 1084 ft.

We followed the path along the crags and down to the main road where we crossed into the now sadly closed ‘Earth Centre’. After inspecting the Tree of stainless steel with copper leaves, which visitors could purchase and have engraved, we passed what used to be the entrance and headed thro` to pick up the Trans Pennine Trail which runs along behind it.

Here, we turned left and followed the Trans Pennine Trail. Looking back across the meadow we left the Earth Centre behind us and continued until we neared the road leading into Mexborough from High Melton (along the way leaving the River Don and following the River Dearne).

Just around the next bend (I think Ron was already there keeping the bench warm in this picture), we stopped for our lunch break. Knee high in meadow grass perfumed by the myriad of brightly coloured wild flowers, Paul had certainly worked the magic with this one.

Having finished our ‘snap’ and exchanged banter with fellow walkers, we got back to our feet and turned left along the road to Mexborough for a short distance before crossing a hotel car park to regain the canal towpath leading into Mexborough. We continued until we reached Ferryboat Lane and turned left to return to the campsite by retracing our outward journey on Tues. Today we had covered approx 8 miles, I think I only got back by resorting to a marching rhythm on the ‘final push’ up the main road to the campsite. Mind you, I’m not a regular walker but had enjoyed the walks thoroughly.

Time to say cheerio to Ron and Judy who had to leave due to a prior commitment, then it was tea and more socialising.

Thurs. After seeing Roy and Sylvia off, Paul and I got down to a little technical exploration on Mary and Georges camper followed by a wander down to the lake and a warming cuppa while watching the wild life.

Friday. A leisurely breakfast for the remaining 3 units before slowly and very reluctantly saying farewell.

All in all, a nice ‘follow-on’ thanks to Carol and Paul. Not really hard work, and just a little bit of much needed exercise and fresh air.



New regulations of the Road Codes in France dated as of the 1st of July 2008

The inter-ministerial Committee for Road Safety (CISR) of February 13th, 2008 decided to make compulsory the presence and carrying in all vehicles of a High Visibility Jacket and a Warning Triangle as of July 1st, 2008, following the example of a number of other European countries having already adopted this measure.

The objective is clear and that is to increase the safety of road users in emergency situations: the driver would be more visible when he gets out of his vehicle and when working on the broken-down vehicle.

High Visibility Jacket

This High Visibility Jacket, which must conform to EU Regulations,Directive 89/686/EEC of the council of December 21st, 1989, must be carried within the interior of the vehicle (and not in the boot). Once having put on the warning indicators the driver must put on the jacket before exiting the broken-down vehicle on or off the road.

This Jacket must also be in accordance with the technical rules defined in appendix II to article R.233-151 of the Labor law and to the european standard in 471 – Clothes of road marking with high visibility for professional usage.

Warning Triangle

The Warning Triangle must be carried in the vehicle (it can be in the boot). The driver is required to position it on the road 30 metres behind the vehicle or the obstacle to be indicated in order to be seen by other road users approaching the broken-down vehicle, immediately upon exiting the vehicle. This Triangle must be of the agreed size and reflecting qualities as per the regulations of Geneva N27.

Its compliance with the Geneva regulations is shown by the CE mark affixed on the Triangle and its cover.


If you are stopped by the police or gendarmes and the vehicle is not equipped with these items then the driver can face a penalty of;

€90 per missing object and €180 if both are missing.



THANKS & SPANISH RALLY Honor and Tim Hewitt

I would like to say a big thank you to all the Club members for my wine cooler – it was a lovely gift.

Also, in 2010, 1st week in June Tim and myself will organise a Spanish Rally at our home in Dolores, near Elche, in Spain. I will try and find out the cost for 3-4 days at Fortuna Spa site which is very good. Cost of the rally at our villa, to cover water, would be £5 per night. No hook up, but water, loo emptying and shower no problem. Actual dates to be confirmed. If you an let me know numbers by April 2009 I would be grateful.

We would also like to say that Mary & George managed to attend the Twinwood Rally and although George was very poorly we must remember that sometimes it is the carers who suffer most. We love and respect her greatly and that we are all there for her.

Thanks to Graham & Chris for marshalling Twinwood and Bruce & Janet for their buffet. Janet you deserve a medal for 45 years. The new marquees were a great success, thanks to all


Mary Pennington

Dear BOC friends I just want to express my heartfelt thanks to all for your support by way of emails, phone calls, texts and cards during George’s illness. I shall be eternally grateful to Hon & Tim for driving the Benimar from Portugal back to UK, Judy & Ron for getting the van to Peterborough so we could join in the rally, Graham & Chris for moving it back to Stockport where we said goodbye to it as new owners drove it away.

We bought a smaller van which I made myself drive, so we were able to go to the Lincoln rally followed by Paul & Carol’s walking rally {not that we did much walking }. At this point George was reasonably mobile and able to get in and out of the van unaided.

We planned our next venture for 3 nights at Malvern rally followed by by 4 nights near Stratford on Avon then on to Twinwood for the Glenn Miller Concert over Bank Holiday week end. By the time it came to leave for Malvern George’s mobility was worsening and we wouldn’t have made it had it not been for the help given by Shirley & Harry, and Roger & Helen What stars they were. It made the difference of being there or going home.

When we got to Twinwood there were a few more hands to help. George went to Graham’s corn beef hash supper, sat in his wheelchair and had a couple of beers. I took him to the arena Saturday to listen to the Jive Aces then on Sunday he was able to go to Bruce & Janet’s 45th wedding anniversary though he was not good .

On Monday am I suggested we go home he said “yes”……… I am so grateful to you all including Ellie May & Millie Jo {Honors granddaughters} for making it possible for him to be amongst the people he wanted to be with, leading the life he loved in his motorvan, right up to the last few days….. I am sure, like me, he would have been moved by the number of members who travelled miles to be at his final farewell.

I want to thank all members I have not seen or those I didn’t get around to saying thank you for the cards of condolence, they were much appreciated. Finally, as Tina says, the Club is Simply the Best . No other club can come a close second to our members……….One more p.s. THANK YOU FRANCES FOR BULLYING ME INTO GOING TO PICKERING it broke the ice…………

I will shut up now. Love Mary.


Geoff Follows is making progress, still having kimo and the associated discomfort . He was out walking in Sutton Park when I rang and Edna tells me that they think their camping days are over and they have reluctantly had to part with the Benimar. They intend to stay with the Club so they can see what we are up to,and hope to see us on a day visit somewhere.

Geoff and Edna organised the Glenn Miller rallies at Twinwood for some years. We will miss them both on our rallies, and we hope to see you both at Peterborough – just come for the cake and drinks.

New Wine for Seniors
Australian vintners in the Margaret River area, which primarily produces Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio wines, have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an anti-diuretic.
It is expected to reduce the number of trips older people have to make to the bathroom during the night.

The new wine will be marketed as…

Thanks to Graham Baines for the above


See Diary Dates