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presidents, patron and founder member

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HONOURARY MEMBERS - mph 683 december 2005 Dear Robert, As a relative newcomer to the VOC, having only joined in 1999, I have often wondered about the stories behind the awarding of Honorary Membership to those that are listed each month in MPH. Some of them I have come across in my readings of various books and back copies of MPH, but I think that it would be interesting to current members if more was known of the recipients and their importance in the history of the VOC. Is there any chance that a series of short articles could be commissioned from Someone That Knows, giving more of an insight into the characters involved? Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK John Smith-Daye MPH 686 march 2006 page 20 More On Honourary Members Jacqueline Bickerstaff John Smith-Day asks for some information about the Honorary Members. It hadn’t occurred to me that Members wouldn’t know the names inside the front cover – but that probably just indicates that I’ve been in this Club for too long. Actually I did have in mind a project to go through the Club’s ‘Riders Roll of Honour’, some of whom have become much more obscure with the passing of time, and could do with an airing. However, John is right, so the Honorary Members might be a better place to start? So I started, and, would you believe, it isn’t as easy as that. The Club has been around a long time, and it turns out to be harder than you might think to trace all of our honoured Members. Of course, in some cases this is because are no longer with us, but in the earliest days, they were elected year by year, but not listed in MPH, and maybe forgotten when re-election or publishing came around. In those days, too, worthies were raised to Vice president, and what of the early holders of that position? So maybe I should start ‘at the top’. The story is pieced together as best I can from MPH and a few other sources, and my own (very poor) memory, so I apologise for any mistakes or omissions. President. The Club has had three Presidents. Philip Conrad Vincent Issue no. 1 of MPH lists Philip C. Vincent A.M.I.A.E., A.M.I.P.E. as president. There could hardly have been any other choice than the man who gave his name to the company, and our machines. Neither does it seem necessary to give any details of P.C.V. since most Members will know the story, but in the event that you do not then the following bibliography would be useful. The Vincent HRD Story, Roy Harper, Vincent Publishing Co., 1975. P.C.V. The Autobiography of Philip Vincent, Vincent Publishing Company, 1976. Tales of the Snarling Beast, Philip Conrad Vincent, Motorcycle Sport, Nov.’66 continuing (through Drawing Board to full bore, etc.) to mid 1970. P.C.V. remained the Club’s President until he died in March 1979 – by this time listed as C.Eng. M.I.Mech.E. A.M.I.P.E., for ‘Chartered engineer’, Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ – successors to the Automotive engineers, and Associate member of the Institution of Production Engineers. Philip Edward Irving. P.C.V. was succeeded as President by Phil Irving from the 1979 AGM, the earliest occasion that the Club had to discuss a new President. Philip E. Irving, M.I.Mech.E., M.S.A.E., Int.A.M.I.P.E., had been listed as the Club’s Vice President from MPH no. 1 in 1949. This, too, was a fairly obvious choice, and Phil Irving’s contribution to the design and stature of Vincent-HRD hardly needs outlining. From his arrival in the UK, on the back of John Gill’s ‘round the world’ Vincent-HRD, P.E.I. came and went at the factory, but nevertheless managed to be the major engineering influence. Again, those who do not know enough might read some of his books such as: Phil Irving an autobiography, Turton and Armstrong, 1992. Tuning for Speed, published in various editions from 1948 to at least the 1970s, and the motorcycle tuner’s ‘bible’ throughout that period. Motorcycle Engineering, also produced in various editions, including Clymer, Motorcycle Technicalities, replicating many of P.E.I.’s articles for ‘MotorCycling’ as ‘Slide Rule’. re-published by Turton and Armstrong, 1983, P.E.I. actively served the Club, writing many times in MPH, and had many achievements to his credit subsequent to his Stevenage days, including the Formula 1 Grand Prix winning Repco Brabham engine design, which was a major factor in gaining his award of a M.B.E. (Member of the British Empire), so that his final MPH listing read Philip E. Irving M.B.E., F.I.Mech.E., M.S.A.E.Aust. (Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Member of the Society of Automobile Engineers Australia – I presume). Philip Irving died on Jan 14, 1992. Bryan Phillips Following on from Phil Irving, the Club elected Bryan Phillips as President, and it is his name that appears in MPH from December 1992 to the present. Bryan had previously served as the Club’s Chairman from 1966 to 1991, in other words a full 25 years! Not only that, but Bryan had previously served in one of the most onerous of Club posts, that of secretary, having taken on the job as ‘acting secretary’ in the wake of a major Club trauma in mid 1960, and also of Social secretary. In addition to this there are many other jobs Bryan has done for the Club, internationally, nationally, and at a local level (especially in the Aldershot Section). Bryan, of course, still takes a very active part in all aspects of the Club, and makes himself available for most Club business meetings (Exec. and G.C.M), as well as writing regularly in MPH, so that he should be a familiar figure to all, and need no further introduction. Patron: Deidre Vincent-Day The position of ‘Patron’ is relatively new, first appearing in MPH for December 2002. It arose out of a concern by the Club to retain a formal contact with the Vincent family. Since the passing of PCV, and then his wife Freda, only informal contact had existed. As a result of discussions at the 2002 AGM, and an approach by the Exec. Deidre Vincent-Day has filled the position of Patron. Deidre is the only daughter of Phil and Freda Vincent, and took the name Vincent-Day on her marriage to Robin Day. Deidre and family have attended a number of events, sometimes even by Vincent, but Deidre has a profession, and a son, to look after and cannot spare as much time as we might like. It is to be hoped that young Philip will retain a continuing interest in his family heritage, and that the VOC will play a part in keeping it bright. Founder member: W. Alan Jackson The name of Alan Jackson is another that appears on the cover of MPH no. 1, although only in the post of Hon. Secretary. To Alan, however, we all owe our Club, as it was Alan who started the ball rolling by circulating a letter proposing a Club, late in 1949, and it was from that ‘acorn’ that the VOC has grown. As Hon. Sec. it was Alan that got the Club onto a sound footing, already in the third MPH a healthy Membership was apparent, and he announced that the VOC was ACU affiliated, a dis- 24 25 count was available from the RAC, an Isle of Man HQ was organised, and Avon had presented their Avon Trophy – still the Club’s major sporting trophy to this day. Alan worked at Kings of Oxford, which was a major Vincent dealer at the time, and, like many of the owners of the time, was young and keen on the sporting side of ownership – MPH used to have a regular feature entitled ‘H R Deeds’. Alan continued as secretary until April 1952, only to have his ‘rest’ interrupted later in the year when he stood in as acting Chairman, until Bill Hindes took over (a name we shall meet again). Afterwards Alan became interested in sailing, and spent much of his time in the Mediterranean, and had only sporadic interaction with the Club thereafter – such as in 1965 when a proposed spares funding arrangement led to an EGM of the Club, which he attended. In recognition of his contribution to the Club, the fourth AGM in 1952, voted Alan a Vicepresident of the Club, which remained the position until 1981 when the Club rules were revised regarding Vice-presidents (with a 5 year tenure). Although Alan’s vice-presidency was not in question, and he was very active in the affair, he did not feel able to do other than maintain unity with some other VPs of his era who resigned their positions. Fortunately for the VOC he did feel able to continue his association with the Club as its ‘founder’. Although Alan died in 1992, his name continues to be listed in MPH as the ‘founder member’ in his memory and in recognition of his part in the VOC story. That’s enough for now, so next time, the Vice-presidents. s
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    7 May 2020
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