West Dorset Centre History and Anecdotes
West Dorset Past Chairmen
As a Group
Cyril Howe 1974 – 1978 Vic Allen 1981 – 1983
George Loveless 1977 – 1980 David Crabb 1984 – 1985
As a Centre
David Crabb 1985 – 1986 Jeni Wright 2003 – 2005
Wally Batchelor 1986 – 1988 Ken Beesley 2005 – 2007
Matthew Brennan 1988 – 1990 Chris Beechey 2007 – 2010
John Thorne 1991 – 1994 Ruth Leverton 2010 – 2013
Henry Freemantle 1995 – 1997 Graham Bowen 2013 – 2016
Tony Lapham 1997 – 1997 Tony Lemon 2016 – 2018
Colin Tarrant 1997 – 2000 Paul Scard 2018 – 2021
Dave Matthews 2000 – 2003 Graham Brown 2021 – Current
Short History of the West Dorset Centre by Colin & Diane
The Caravan Centre originally covered the total county of Dorset, but was split into two Centres East and West in 1985. The boundary went from Ringstead Bay then North using established roads joining the Wiltshire boundary. With the advent of the Blandford Bypass the A354 circumnavigated the town which meant Blandford was now within our West Dorset area.
The Centre has had many dedicated Chairmen but was saddened by the tragic accidental death of Tony Lapham just after he took up the chairmanship of the Centre, his wife Ann donated the Tony Lapham cup to the Centre this is awarded annually to the member who has attended the most rallies during the year.
Likewise the Veronica Beesley Cup is awarded annually to the member who has done a little bit extra for the Centre and is voted for by the members attending the annual Dinner and Dance.
Until recently all Centres printed Rally Books and a copy of each Centre’s Rally Book was held by the Centre Hon Secretary and were made available at Rallies for members attending the Rally to peruse which was useful in the days before the Internet. Each year the CAMC awarded a financial prize for what they considered the most outstanding picture on the cover, over the years our Centre has had significant success.
For many years we have had sufficient chidren attending Rallies to have had a Junior Division with their own committee, unfortunately in recent times this has ceased to exist possibly due to lack of interest.
Over the years our Centre has run a number of exceptional rallies such as Yetminster Street Fair and the Blandford Street Fair and of course West Bay which remains very popular. Many Rallies were held on the site of Sturminster Newton Cattle Market and Milldown School Blandford, these Rallies always included an evening meal and live entertainment being Birthday Rallies and A.G.M.s.
One notable Dinner & dance Rally which took place in a hotel in Weymouth is remembered as the Guest of honour was the Chaplain of the CAMC, unfortunately whilst he and his wife were in bed asleep their room was broken into and he was relieved of his watch and some cash. Other members on the Rally also had their rooms broken into whilst enjoying the evening in the ballroom. Luckily the local constabulary arrested the burglar and property was returned or a cash recompence was made.