Chairman Steve Hodgson
Vice chairman Paul Feldon
Secretary David Porteous
Treasurer Brian Smith
Members Mike Carruthers, Roy Sturgeon, Dave Headon, Bobby Robinson
We meet on alternate Thursday evenings at Middleton St George Cricket Club DL2 1JQ at 8.00 pm with the first meeting of the month generally being a business meeting where forthcoming events are planned.
A brief outline history of the formation of the South Durham Section is given here but the full detailed history, written by Eric Londesbrough, is available in two volumes, Part 1 detailing the first ten years, and Part 2 detailing the period 1987 to 1996. These can be obtained from the section. The information here is extracted from Eric’s first volume.
The VMCC was founded in 1946. Two of the early sections in the area were the North East whose meetings were held at Boroughbrige, and the Northumbrian section up in Tyne & Wear, leaving a large area without a local meeting place.
In 1975, a small group of VMCC members led by Brian Bean rectified this situation and, having corresponded with the then National Secretary Eric Thompson, a section based near Darlington was formed.With assistance from the local paper, an inaugural meeting was arranged for Tuesday 9th December 1975 at the Three Tuns at Sadberge at 7.30pm.
The picture below, which appeared in the Northern Echo shows the five section founders with their machines
The meeting was attended by some 60 people with 39 signing the register. The chair was taken by Bill Hume who explained the working of a VMCC section and proposed that the South Durham Section be formed.
One of the agenda items was a road safety run which was organised for the 28th December (maybe there wasn’t as much salt on the roads then). The start and finish being at the Three Tuns at Sadberge. The route sheet gives the distance as 28 miles, the start time was 10.00am and the entry fee 25p. The weather was described as reasonable and 13 riders took part. A system of timing was used but the final result was decided by questions on the Highway Code, which still cause problems for some to this day. The winner was Bill Lincoln riding a Royal Enfield.
The next meeting took place on 13th January 1976. It was decided already that there would be two meetings per month, something which continues to this day.
Hill climbs, trials and road runs were suggested and it was agreed to arrange these as soon as possible. Titch Allen was invited to the February meeting when he entertained members with a talk on the early days of the VMCC.
During the first year, some of our runs which continue to this day were given their first outings.
23rd May 1976 first Quaker Run, Brian Bean Secretary of the meeting, Les Dixon, Andrew Dawson Clerks of the course. Distance 89 miles, Start Sadberge, lunch stop C.B. Hotel Arkengarthdale, 19 riders, winner R. Rowland BSA Trike.
16th June 1976 first Sunset Run organised by George Robinson. Start Sadberge 10 riders, winner T. Murray
26th September 1976 first Baydale Run, Nick Robinson clerk of course. There was a strange formula applied to the mileage for the run dependent on age of machine, also penalties for arriving back early or late. Winner Eric Londesbrough BSA 350.
During the first year the section started it’s tradition of away wins with The Rookhope Ride, where South Durham entered two of the six teams which competed. The winners were South Durham B Olly Downes, Ron Fisher, Brian Bean & Nick Robson.
The year concluded with the first Dinner Dance held at The North Eastern (now The Coachman) on 1st December, and the first AGM held on the 14th December. Olly Downes retired from Chairmanship, Brian Bean from Secretary. Gerry Beer was elected chairman and Eric Londesbrough as secretary.
For further reading The South Durham Section History, in two parts, is available from the section.