Just a note from me as a volunteer and organiser of Concours for 12 years.
As you are aware, Dawn Scantlebury and the Social Committee took over the running of Concours from me in July 2017 but resigned in April of 2018.
Anne asked Martin Coleman to form a Concours Committee, I was asked to take over and run this event, with Martin shadowing me, and I wish him the best for the future.
With only six weeks to go before the Concours, with the fantastic assistance of HQ staff and very few volunteers on the day, we managed to put together one of the largest Concours events we had organised for many years.
In 2017 I met with Bonhams at Englefield and negotiated that they would cover the entire facility fee if they wished to coincide their auction with our Concours, to which they agreed.
We only ascertained a week before the event was that Bonhams had given sole rights to their outside caterers ‘Wild Fork’ as an incentive to ‘pitch-up’, as I was wanted to contract some outside caterers.
I sent an email to Bonhams and the caterer advising the lessons of what 12 years experience running Concours had taught me. I recommended that whatever quantity of food they were expecting to sell, they should at least double it and employ more staff to sell it, as I was concerned about the lack of catering outlets and the queues that may ensue.
At other venues, we’ve always advised event managers to employ more catering staff and seriously stock up on food supplies, because they would undoubtedly be inundated with customers. None of them ever seems to grasp this until it’s too late. Marc Aylott will confirm the number of times he has heard me, in no uncertain terms, advising the venue managers over the years about this.
At Woburn Abbey in 2015, after proffering this advice on various occasions, the restaurant ran out of food at 11:30 am, and there was a 45-minute wait for a cup of tea.
Wild Fork catering contractors, contacted by Bonhams, assured that they would easily cope.
The attendance at this events was unprecedented.
A few days before the event, an email went from HQ to all UK members reminding them of the Concours. Maybe it was because the sun appeared on the day, the upshot, we had over 400 Aston Martins in attendance.
Display cars 6
Vanquish display 45
Concours entrants 75
Gate purchases 140
TOTAL ASTON MARTINS 444
I estimate that we had well over 1,000 people in attendance. A far cry from 15 years ago when ago when we were lucky to get a dozen entrants and 30 cars visiting.
Concours has grown into a monster that’s slowly eating us.
We are not a concierge service, nor are we are a professional events management team. Very few members volunteer to assist. I, with a handful of other members, give up our time willingly to try to put on a good show, even our Deputy Chairman stood at the gate for 4 hours stewarding members into the grounds in sweltering heat.
I was still at Englefield 3 hours after the prize-giving with the all the HQ staff and just a few volunteers, taking down the marquess and packing the van. Well done and thanks to those who helped.
Fortunately, this weekend-long event made a healthy surplus for the Club, without any contribution from the Lockton commission, which can be carried forward to fund the autumn event.
I agree it is disappointing when the champagne runs out.
...or you may have to line up for your free coffee longer than you would at Starbucks.
...or there’s no one on hand to help you park.
...or there’s no one available to give you a neck massage, but please give a thought for the volunteers, who give up their time, maybe weeks in advance to make this event enjoyable for you.
If you did attend, thanks for coming and we hope that you had an enjoyable time. If you’d like to volunteer at Club events, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Marc Aylott or Christine Howson at Club HQ.