Shortly after moving into the Crown Inn at Eythorne, Alan Felton and his father (who had always owned MG’s) noticed that for a very small village there were 6 regulars coming into the pub with MG’s. Over a few drinks the idea of forming a club was mentioned. They got in touch with the MGOC and secretary Roche Bently, who suggested leaving things for a year and if they were still enthusiastic to get back in touch, which is exactly what they did, and the Whitecliffs 1108 club was formed in 1995, with Alan as secretary.
As he recalls, the members decided to have an advertising campaign and although computers were in the early stages, they did have one at the pub and they set about printing 150 leaflets. The members distributed these around the local area. How many turned up to the 1st meeting?........ ‘One’ …….. but as Alan said that was a good one, for unbeknown to the owner of a little blue roadster, that one leaflet would bring his future wife into his life, Alan has said he often wondered what the other 149 were like!
Meetings were held monthly in the back room of the Crown, numbers grew very quickly and soon they had to move to the function room upstairs. Over the next few years the club, being close to Dover, organized many trips abroad, going to Arras, Reims and Ypres as well as many events in the UK.
After about 5 years at the helm, Alan stood down and the secretaries position was taken over by Sheelagh Teame and as Sheelagh and Terry lived in Folkestone the decision was taken to move to the Lighthouse Inn at Capel-le-Ferne. Terry and Sheelagh with their lovely V8 roadster were out at shows and MG meetings most weekends. They also organized trips to the Isle of Wight, the Cotswolds, Holland and France. They also spent 4 weeks touring Europe every year in their beloved V8, talk about getting attached to your car. So far over the years we have had 2 couples emigrate to France, 1 to Spain and 1 to Australia and all have taken their cars with them, yes even to Australia!
Helen Gray took over as secretary after Sheelagh, and Helen’s husband Doug purchased his White MG from Alan as he left the club and Doug is still using the car on runs in the Whitecliffs MG Owners Club today. Joe and Mary bought the MG from the first secretary and they are still using the car today in the club.
Whilst Helen was secretary, club runs were many and varied including Jersey, Isle of Wight, New Forest and Norfolk. While Helen was secretary we relocated back to the Crown at Eythorne, which was great, but with growing membership the Function room was no longer big enough, so meetings were moved to the Three Tuns at Staple. But with growing interest in Newfoundland dogs and going to shows with the dogs, Helen stood down as secretary.
Steve & Jayne Ansell took over, this being a fairly easy transition as Jayne had been Helen’s right hand man or should we say woman! By taking the notes at meetings and doing the agenda and reports for the Enjoying MG magazine. Whilst at the Three Tuns, we would often arrive to discover that they had booked the room out to someone else, or the whole place had been booked for a wedding! We moved venues again, to our present venue The Swingate Inn just above the Whitecliffs, very appropriate. During Steve and Jayne’s time as secretaries, thanks to Steve having good computer skills, and after a lot of time and effort he set up our club website. At the same time we organized our new club flag, no-one could ever accuse us of being undemocratic, it took 15 meetings to decide on the price, size, shape and colour! On reflection we should have just said here is the money, go and get one. Steve and Jayne were very keen on the whole MG scene going to shows most weekends, with trips abroad including Laon Historique, The Classic car show in Arras, where the club won an award for ‘Best Club Stand’ at this show. After a very busy 4 years they decided to take a back seat as secretaries but are still keen active members of the club.
Buster & Marie then took over the mantle as club secretaries. They too are very active members and in their first year attended nearly every show and run that was on the club calendar. Marie took over the running of the club website, revamped it and added to it. Buster and Marie introduced a yearly competition of ‘Furthest Travelled MG in Whitecliffs’ They took the speedo reading from all the cars that took part in the Cobweb run at the beginning of the year and then the final reading at the End of Season run. The club was very surprised to learn how many miles the club members did in the first year. 1st place went to Ian & Jackie doing 5280 miles in their MG BGT V8 and the Total Whitecliffs MG owners club (taking part) = 27,505 miles Not bad for 6 months motoring!! Whilst on a trip to the Lake District, Buster and Marie picked up a piece of slate from the slate mine we visited, this was then made into a trophy to be given out yearly for the winner of the ‘Furthest Travelled MG in Whitecliffs’. Ian and Jackie Steggles have won it 2 years running.
Buster and Marie continued as in the past, attending shows and runs with other club members. In 2009 they purchased a brand new LE500 TF in scorched red, which they used to go on runs with other likeminded MG’ers, attending runs round the M25 in February at 10.30pm with their roofs down raising money for the Help for Heroes charity. They also did a Bridges and Tunnels run which involved going over, under or through every bridge and tunnel in London, again at night! Buster then purchased a MG ZR so now our club secretaries had 3 MG’s to their name, excellent for the club, as we now had many more members joining. This made the organization of club events quite a challenge, finding a coffee stop or pub with enough room for 30+ members and their cars!
In 2011 Joe & Mary decided on a trip of a lifetime to Italy, taking in Stelvio Pass and the Nurburing over 9 days in July. We were assured that the weather would be good! But someone forgot to inform nature… as we got up to frosts in the mornings and snow still on top of the mountains! It was still a most memorable trip and there are lots of photos in the Photo Gallery on this website. Buster and Andy got together at Joe and Mary’s one afternoon as we discussed the trip and met the other people coming along on this trip, and decided that we needed to have plaques to put on the cars and T-Shirts to match. We all decided that Joe & Mary could be part of the plaques but we kept the t-shits secret from them.
On the morning of the Stelvio day, we all came down to breakfast wearing our t-shirts with a small black ‘rook’ on the front and the same plaque picture on the back…… Mary was getting quite annoyed by the fact that her and Joe didn’t have one, and as Buster and Marie were the last down to breakfast she soon had a smile when we presented her and Joe with their t-shirts, again photos in the gallery of this fantastic trip. Whilst we were there though there was one disappointment when Kevin and Jayne’s car broke down. They were very lucky that the insurers didn’t scrap the car and they managed with the help of their son to get the car back to the UK and they are still using the car today in the club. During the ride up Stelvio we came across ‘The Stig’ from Top gear… although ‘he’ had turned into a ‘she’, and later back at our hotel we discovered that in fact it was Mary inside the white outfit and white helmet! Most of the group then travelled onto Germany. While there we went to the Nurburing, and we had a go or two round the track and safe to say that we all survived! This was a fabulous trip and is still talked about in the club today. Buster and Marie also took part again with Joe & Mary a trip with Dave & Val from Lands End to John O’Groats, (LeJoG) A very quick trip in 2 and half days using only A and B roads in our old classic cars. The driving time was under 24 hours in the cars. We received certificates for the trip and Dave & Val presented us all with a glass engraved trophy to mark the event. 4 other members from the club Ken, Silvia, Ian & Jackie also did the LeJog but with a difference, taking over 2 weeks to complete the trip, by stopping off at various places along the route. Again a full report and photos in the photo gallery.
In January 2014, Buster and Marie then decided that it was time for them to hand the reigns over to someone else in the club, now that Buster’s job had changed and he was now doing shift work and with a growing family of grandchildren, presently 5, they handed over to Joe and Mary Rook, who are just entering their second year as secretaries, with the help of Marie who is keeping the website updated and in order. They also have Kevin and Jayne helping out with the organization of the club shows/runs/events etc plus running the meetings when Joe and Mary are off on one of their holidays.
This photo is from the very beginning, Teddy Bears Picnic and the banner in the photo is still in use today!
The white car is Doug and Helen's 1966 MGB roadster purchased from Alan, Whitecliffs 1108 very first secretary!