Welcome to the world of “The Scrumpies”. We’ve been here since the beginning of time, well as far as the VSOC is concerned anyway. There have been many twists and turns along the way but finally, we evolved into what we have become today.
The best way to tell any story is to start at the beginning, So, I’ll open with a piece written by one of our founding fathers for “Scrumpy IV” in 2004.
Hi. My name is ‘H’. The older members may remember me, the younger ones have probably never heard of me. Now I know there is nothing more boring than some old guy going on about ‘the good old days’, but Magic has asked me to pen (well type actually) a few words about the formation of Centre 17, The Scrumpies. Around about the same time, John Bryning (our president) formed the VOC along with his friend Peter, over in Essex. I lived in Bridgwater, and certainly couldn’t go to Essex for meetings. I decided to put feelers out to start a local group. You must understand that this was in the very first year of the clubs formation. There were no Centres or Centre Reps. On checking, I found that a local Virago rider, Dave from Clevedon had already made the first moves to start a local club. I was happy just to go along. I think the pub we first met in was called The Star. That was the start of The Scrumpies. We weren’t called that then. We just started as The Virago Owners Club – Westcountry. That year John Bryning contacted all members to inform them that the newly formed VOC would have a stand at that years BMF rally in Peterborough. What that first BMF rally did do was give the more keen members time to get together and put forward ideas as to how the club may develop. Dave and his wife Annie had put a lot of work into the local club, but work commitments had meant that he was not willing to take on the role of chairman. I volunteered for this job. Chairman sounds a bit grand for a little bike group. I just took the meetings and helped organise a few things. The big thing we did commit ourselves to was holding a rally the following year. Now I am not a native Westcountry person, but I did know Somerset was famous for drinking cider, and that cider was largely Scrumpy. On that basis we decided to call the rally ‘The Scrumpy Run’. One thing I can take credit for is designing the patch. I thought up this old farmer type bloke complete with smock, pitchfork and jug of cider. I think he is still with Centre 17. The very first Scrumpy run in 1994 was held in the field behind The Blues Bar. It was a great success mainly due to a great deal of hard work put in by the founder members of the VOC Westcountry. Hordes of people came from across the UK and made The Scrumpy Run the forerunner of many a great Virago rally throughout the country. As time went by, and the national club grew rapidly in areas, numbers and success. The country was divided into 'Centres'. Each centre was to be led, for want of a better word, by a Centre Representative. I had the great privilege and honour to be the 1st Centre Rep. of Centre 17. Unfortunately after a few years, my job took me to Hampshire and I had to step down as Centre Rep. I went on to become Centre Rep of Centre 16 and then to Vice Chairman of the national club, but my happiest Virago days had to be in the Westcountry with The Scrumpies. As I said, it was a great honour to be there at the beginning and to help, along with many others to start of one of the best centres in the country.
Drink up ‘e Cider. ‘H’
PIECE BY VICE
Hiya Scrumpies (seems years since I’ve written that)!
I thought I’d start this piece by refreshing the old and informing the new member’s brain-cells of exactly where the V.S.O.C. and therein The Scrumpies came from.
In the beginning of 1993 there was a “big bang”, well a small bang actually and it was inside the heads of two like minded Virago riding friends from the East of England; John Bryning and Peter Healey, who got it together and decided to form an owners club. Peter would handle the clubs Membership and John would do practically everything else including editing The Clatter (for those of you who didn’t know “The Clatter” was so named after the noisy starter motors on the original Virago’s). The Virago Owners Club (V.O.C.) as it was then (no “Stars” until’97-‘98) consisted of eight areas Scotland, N.East, N.West, Wales, Central, E.Anglia, S.East, and Offshore. Later that year with new members joining weekly from all over the country the very first Scrumpies started to appear in the guise of the “New West Country” as they were then known, with the main contact (Rep) being Dave Cottrell, who was soon joined by and shortly after succeeded by Howard “H” Coates. Within a year, by the summer of ’94 and in order to simplify the structure of the National Club, the twenty Regional Centres that we have today were formed. Centre 17 was to be known as “Avon” and covered (Avon, Glos, Wilts, W.Dorset and Somerset). By the end of ‘94/ beginning of ’95 Doug Harding took the reins and at the same time the Centre Name changed to “Avon South West”. In the middle of ’96 Doug’s’ personal/work commitments meant that he didn’t feel that he could dedicate the time needed to carry on with the role of Rep. and the post was coerced onto “Ian Mereweather” Instead of feeling put-upon Ian put all his energies into taking the Centre forward and as Avon became defunct as a county our name changed again to “Somerset and South West”. By the summer of ’97 the Centre covered Somerset, Dorset and Gloucester, with the Wiltshire crew joining us officially by the end of the year following a joint party with Thames Valley in the Cotswolds.
Evolution took its course and having Peter Healey forced to retire from the Club in the Summer of ’96 and with membership rising at an incredible rate, John Bryning eventually found it necessary to hand over the running of the Club to a National Committee at the end of 1997. John became Honorary President for life. Other original National Committee members who remain in their positions on the “top table” today are Kevin Hoyte (Chairman), Malcolm Bland (Membership Secretary) and Anne Bland (Treasurer).
In the spring of ’98, with Wiltshire having been fully integrated into Centre 17 it was decided to once again change our centres name. This is when we became known as simply “V.O.C.Southwest”. In the summer of ’99 we hosted “SCRUMPY III” and at the end of the rally Ian handed over the Centre Reps. Badge to Graeme “Bunch” Burton. It was also at this time that the National Club morphed into the Virago Star Owners Club (V.S.O.C). Due to the ever-increasing influx of “Star” motorcycles within the club. By the end of the year we conformed and became “V.S.O.C.Southwest”. At the Centre AGM in 2000 Yours truly Steve ”VICE” Porter, after 3-4 years of being deputy, eventually took the position of Centre Rep. and during the following year of 2001 we changed our Centre name for the last time to become known officially as “The Scrumpies”. By the end of 2002, I felt in dire need of a sabbatical. Being at the sharp end of such a high profile Centre as The Scrumpies means that you put the Club before all else and after six years, I felt my family had been pushed into second place for too long. “Bunch” kept the flag flying for the few winter months and then handed over to Tony “Blacky” Black in March 2003.
As you can all see The National Club as well as The Centre has gone through quite a few changes over the years. One thing I will swear to you all for the future though is
THE “SCRUMPIES” ARE HERE TO STAY
Scrumpies Party and other ramblings from Bunch
I had the honour of taking over as Centre Rep in June 1999 at the end of Scrumpy 3. It was an exciting time to be a Scrumpie. Not only had we just finished a successful rally but the club was expanding both nationally and locally. Growth brought change as new people brought new ideas. Ian had introduced the Scrumpies committee structure that exists to this day and over the next few years we developed that arrangement. It wasn’t easy, ask anyone involved at the time, but it cemented the principle of democratic decision making. Maybe more importantly it strengthened the identity of the Scrumpies among our members.
Scrumpies members started to develop new events which exist to this day. Both the April Fools Run and the Fat Ladies Run were started in 2000 by Glossies (Gloucester members). This may surprise some people as the Glossies are not currently a very active area. However our membership changes and area strengths change. Bristol was virtually inactive when I joined the club and Somerset and Dorset have both been quiet at times. It’s that change that keeps us fresh and worth being part of.
The need to manage a larger club at national level had caused decisions which created disagreement and focussed members attention and loyalty to their own centre. One national decision meant that each centre no longer received any funding from the annual membership fee and therefore had to become financially independent. This threatened the newsletter and the ability to run any events. This financial change was very evident in the development of club rallies.
Rally organisers started to include meals in the ticket cost. Venues became more sophisticated with the demand for better shower facilities etc. Rallies also provided the centres with a chance to increase their funds. The result of all this was higher ticket prices. This has levelled out now but in 2000 the Scrumpies decided to do something different; The Scrumpies Party.
There were several reasons for creating the Scrumpies Party. Firstly, a belief by our members that a need existed for a back to basics low cost rally. Secondly, the demand for a family friendly event where type of transport and accomodation were not important. Thirdly, the demise of the Independents end of year party on the Isle of Wight. So the Scrumpies Party, not a rally, was born.
Our first venue, Court Farm, went on to become the Scrumpies spiritual home. The venue was found as Doug Harding had visited it while looking for a venue for his wedding reception. It was finally chosen because of the facilities, the owners experience of other events and the warm welcome they gave us. Other venues were looked at in the initial years but nowhere could allow us to run the Scrumpies Party in the same way.
A bonus for our guests in the early years was the custom bike show run by M.A.G. in Weston-super-Mare. The Scrumpies arranged a run from the party and added bikes to the exhibits. Free show access was repaid by inviting MAG to the party.
Early on we learnt the need to allow people to chill on Friday night and to not be distracted by a band. For the first few years our DJ was Scruff from Scallys pub in Weston and he set the standard for future years.
The format of the Scrumpies Party was a success and attracted VSOC members from around the country. A number of local bike clubs were also our guests to the extent that we appointed a Liaison Officer to the Committee. The real success of the Scrumpies Party was proved when we first booked the Illinois Blues Brothers in 2003. That weekend 350 people attended, making the party more successful than some VSOC rallies at the time.
After ten years the Scrumpies Party is still here, still offering value for money and definitely delivering a brilliant weekend.
So let’s raise a glass of Scrumpy, to the Scrumpies Party and the Scrumpies.
|Bladeaka Kev Blaney||Blackyaka Tony Black||AJaka Andrzej Serwadczak||Blackjack Bobaka Bob Barber||Blackyaka Tony Black||Bunchaka Graeme Burton||Vice aka Steve Porter||Bunchaka Graeme Burton|
|Oct 2016 - present||Oct 2010 - Oct 2016||Oct 2009 - Oct 2010||Oct 2008 - Oct 2009||Mar 2003 - Oct 2008||Jan 2003 - Mar 2003||Nov 2000 - Jan 2003||Nov 1999 - Nov 2000|
|Ian Mereweather||Doug Harding||Haka Howard Coates||Dave Cottrell|
|Nov 1996 - Nov 1999||Mar 1995 - Nov 1996||Late 1993 (Jointly with Dave) - Mar 1995||The beginning 1993 - Later with Howard till 1994|
|Stephen Rhodes||Bladeaka Kev Blayney||Beanoaka Dave Beynon||AJaka Andrzej Serwadczak||Blackjack Bobaka Bob Barber||Vice aka Steve Porter||Mark Jaworski||Bunchaka Graeme Burton|
|Oct 2016 - present||Oct 2015 - Oct 2016||Oct 2009 - Oct 2015||Oct 2008 - Oct 2009||Oct 2007 - Oct 2008||Oct 2005 - Oct 2007||Oct 2004 - Oct 2005||Apr 2003 - Oct 2004|
|Blackyaka Tony Black||Magicaka Tony Lewis||Viceaka Steve Porter|
|Dec 2002 - Apr 2003||Dec 2000 - Dec 2002||Oct 1997 - Dec 2000|
|Becksaka Dave Jones||Shazzaaka Sharon Bower||Sally Swift||Magicaka Tony Lewis|
|Oct 2008 - Present||Jan 2004 - Oct 2008||Dec 2001 - Jan 2004||Apr 2000 - Dec 2001|
|Paul Duckett||Marea Masland||Neil Loveday||The Fenceaka Phil Knight||Blackyaka Tony Black||Stuart Rolfe||The Bardaka Nige Evans||Denise Elliott(Inc Secretary)|
|Oct 2018 - Present||Oct 2016 - Oct 2018||Oct 2011 - Oct 2016||Oct 2010 - Oct 2011||Mar 2010 - Oct 2010||Oct 2009 - Mar 2010||Jun 2008 - Oct 2009||Oct 2006 - May 2008|
|Shazzaaka Sharon Bower||Sally Swift||Phil Hodges||Angela Kingdom|
|Jan 2004 - Jan 2006||Jan 2003 - Oct 2004||Dec 2001 - Jan 2003||Jun 1999 - Dec 2001|
|AJaka Andrzej Serwadczak||Bladeaka Kev Blayney||Sue Emery||Blackjack Bobaka Bob Barber||Denise Elliott||Millarmanaka Bob Millar||Wing Co & Coaka Tony & Mairi Tate|
|Oct 2014 - Present||Oct 2009 - Oct 2014||Oct 2007 - Oct 2009||Oct 2006 - Oct 2007||Jan 2004 - Oct 2006||Oct 1998 - Jan 2004||Oct 1997 - Oct 1998|
|Jokeraka Terry Naudé||Beanoaka Dave Beynon||Mark Jaworski||Phil Hodges||Paul Duckett||Tomoaka Tom Finlayson||Viceaka Steve Porter|
|Aug 2016 - Present||Feb 2010 - Aug 2016||Dec 2002 - Oct 2009||Mar 2002 - Dec 2002||Sep 2001 - Mar 2002||Apr 1999 - Sep 2001||May 1998 - Apr 1999|
|Vanessa Howden-Smith||Linda Grove||Cheryl Temlett|
|Oct 2017 - Present||Oct 2013 - Oct 2017||Oct 2011 - Oct 2013|
WILTSHIRE COUNTY REPS
|TCaka Terry Ashby||Angela Lawrence||Mark Jowarski||Padreaka Malcolm Pitcher||AJaka Andrzej Serwadczak||Blackjack Bobaka Bob Barber||Mackaka Bahrat Macwana||Muthaaka Sue Hodges|
|Oct 2018 - Present||Dec 2016 - Feb 2018||Oct 2011 - Dec 2016||Oct 2008 - Oct 2011||Oct 2006 - Oct 2008||Feb 2005 - Oct 2006||Jul 2003 - Feb 2005||Dec 2001 - Apr 2003|
|Mar 1998 - Dec 2001|
BRISTOL/GLOUCESTER COUNTY REP
|Shazzaaka Sharon Bower||Grasshopperaka Tony Rose|
|Oct 2012 - Oct 2014||Oct 2010 - Oct 2012|
BRISTOL COUNTY REPS
|Pat Voke||Grasshopperaka Tony Rose||Stingeraka Malcolm Berryman||Fistyaka Bob Lawrence||Stingeraka Malcolm Berryman||Dave Bower||Stuart Goodman||Zalireaka Tim Bousfield|
|Oct 2014 - Present||Aug 2009 - Oct 2010||Sep 2008 - Jul 2009||Feb 2008 - Aug 2009||Oct 2007 - Feb 2008||Jun 2007 - Oct 2007||Oct 2001 - Jun 2007||Apr 2000 - Sep 2000|
|Jul 1999 - Apr 2000|
SOMERSET COUNTY REPS
|Archie Emery||Ivor Edwards||Archie Emery||Steve Field||Beanoaka Dave Beynon||Clive Goodman||Tipsaka Peter Gunningham||Paul Wells|
|Oct 2017 - Present||Oct 2013 - Oct 2017||Oct 2011 - Oct 2013||Oct 2009 - Oct 2011||Oct 2006 - Oct 2009||Oct 2003 - Oct 2006||Apr 2003 - Oct 2003||Sep 2000 - Apr 2003|
|Viceaka Steve Porter|
|May 1997 - Sep 2000|
DORSET COUNTY REPS
|Bob Jarman||Paul Duckett||Stephen Rhodes||Alex Carruthers||Paul Duckett||Bladeaka Kevin Blaney||Shut itaka Gary Knight||Fozzieaka Anthony Foster|
|Oct 2018 - Present||Oct 2016 - Oct 2018||Oct 2010 - Oct 2016||Oct 2009 - Oct 2010||Oct 2007 - Oct 2009||Jul 2004 - Oct 2007||Apr 2003 - Jul 2004||Sep 2002 - Apr 2003|
|Plankaka Steve Board||Lee Baxter|
|Apr 2000 - Sep 2002||May 1997 - Jan 2000|
GLOUCESTER COUNTY REPS
|Welsh dragonaka Janice Anderson||Bunchaka Graeme Burton||Spikeaka Alan Anderson||Ian McLaughlan||Angela Smith||Spikeaka Alan Anderson||Spatchaka Paul Wilde||Gravsaka Stuart Gravenell|
|Oct 2015 - Present||Oct 2014 - Oct 2015||Oct 2008 - Jun 2010||May 2006 - Oct 2008||Jan 2004 - May 2006||Mar 2002 - Jan 2004||Sep 1999 - Mar 2002||Mar 1998 - Sep 1999|
|Summer 1997 - Mar 1998|
|Mark Jaworski||Delaka Derek Hickey||Tangoaka Chris Lamprill||Russell King|
|Sep 2000 - Jan 2003||Jan 1998 - Sep 2000||May 1997 - Dec 1997|
|Magicaka Tony Lewis|
|Jan 2003 - Oct 2004|
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