Bank Holiday Celebrations at Newark!

Formed in 1971, when 42 people responded to an article in Practical Caravan Magazine, the Swift Owners Club celebrated its 1000th Rally at the Newark showground in May 2005.

As luck (and good management) would have it the rally fell on the occasion of the 2005 Annual General Meeting. It took place over Mayday bank holiday weekend at Newark Showground in Nottinghamshire, a well serviced site set in over 80 acres. Some 140 vans booked in making it one of the largest rallies for some time.

Fantastic weather blessed a weekend packed full of entertainment and all manner of interesting activities. These included a breakfast with the Ward's champion bacon and sausage baps, go-karting (at the track next door), the Chairman's Challenge, junior track tests, continental rally get togethers, communal BBQ's and much much more.

Entertainment was provided in the Newark pavilion on each of the main evenings. On Friday this took the form of a Casino night and junior disco organised by the staff at Brayford Leisure. Saturday saw the return of the popular musical duo 'The Inside Job' and comedienne/singer Siobhan Philips. She had people rolling in the aisles.

The AGM was held on Sunday morning and in the evening members danced the night away to the 'ultimate party band' - 'The Choice'.

All good things come to and end, and so it did, but not before Monday when Flag was followed by the 'Big Raffle'. Fantastic prizes, and indeed a great weekend. Let's not forget that this rally was made possible by a huge team of marshals and helpers (to numerous to mention here) and by our sponsors who gave so generously to mark this wonderful milestone. Our thanks go to them.

The Club now has some 1500 members and is believed to be the largest caravan and motorhome owners club in the UK. As well as its social activities the Club also raises money for charity. In 1990 the Club raised £7785 for the NSPCC. Four years later  (with help from Swift) the Club presented the Red Cross with not one, but two, fully equipped caravans. In 2000 the Club raised the princely sum of £10,000. This was divided equally between Childline and the Macmillan Cancer Fund. Last year the Club donated £5,000 to the National Association for Colitis and Crohns.

  Celebration Cake

Founder members Anne & Geoff Rowe (right) cut the celebration cake helped by Val Rowe and her husband John, the Club's President.

Geoff & Anne attended the first ever Swift rally at Alton Towers in Staffordshire in August 1971 and still have the plaque to prove it. Since then they have attended some 220+ rallies and are still going strong.

They also attended the Club's first continental rally, held at an RAF station near Berlin. The trip involved travelling through the infamous Berlin Corridor where the checkpoints were staffed by Soviet troops armed with loaded machine guns.

Since then the Club has held countless continental and overseas rallies and is currently averaging four per year.

©2005 Swift Owners Club