June 4, 2005
Vintage vehicles converge on Burnham-On-Sea for annual road run

Hundreds of people lined Burnham’s seafront on Saturday evening (June 4th) to watch more than 200 vintage vehicles converge on the town for the 12th annual Vale of Avalon Vintage Vehicle Road Run.

The South Esplanade was closed to public traffic for four hours to allow the crowds to see wander around the cars, motorbikes, vans and lorries dating back more than 20 years.

Among the vehicles on display were vintage ice cream vans, police cars and fire engines alongside some valuable cars and motorbikes.

Eric Upshall (pictured below) of Evercreech was awarded The Mayor’s Choice Trophy by Eric Gill, Burnham-On-Sea’s Mayor, after he decided that a red and white Austin Nash was the vehicle he’d most like to take home.

Burnham Mayor Eric Gill presents a trophy to winners Eric and Marjorie UpshallThe 39 year-old car was found in a local scrap yard in 1980 and has been completely stripped down and rebuilt to its original condition by Mr Upshall, with all its metal work, welding, spraying and upholstery being updated.

Cllr Gill told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “It’s been a tough decision. My trophy goes to the vehicle I’d most like to take home – and I have to admit that I would prefer to be giving away 250 trophies today because there are so many super vehicles on show today. The one I have chosen, though, really stands out – it has sentimental value.”

Bill Biffen of Bridgwater next to his 1953 Austin 16 FLI , which has taken him four years to fully restoreThe event began in Glastonbury at 5pm when jazz legend Acker Billk officially started the event.

The vehicles then proceeded along the A39, through Woolavington and Bason Bridge to Burnham, where they lined up along the South Esplanade between 5.45 and 7.45pm.

Among the gems on show was a 1953 Austin 16 FLI, pictured here with owner Bill Biffen of Bridgwater. He has taken four years to restore the car to its former glory.

Bruce Ralfs from Clevedon with his 1968 Morris 1000Bruce Ralfs from Clevedon was displaying his green 1968 Morris 1000, a former Bristol Water van (pictured right), which he has owned for 10 years.

And among the many other eye-catchers was a 1959 Dennis F28 fire engine, owned by Burnham-On-Sea resident Tony Stephens.

More than 20 vintage motorbikes were also on display and, of these, a 1961 Triumph Bonneville caught the attention of many enthusiasts, including Mayor Eric Gill (pictured below).

A 1961 Triumph Bonneville caught the attention of many enthusiasts, including Mayor Eric Gill who is shown with owner Tony ChampenyThe machine, owned by Tony Champeny of Street, has been completely re-built during the last 18 months and is now in exactly the same condition as it would have been when it originally left the showroom.

Mayor Gill was joined by Alan Gloak, chairman of Somerset County Council, and Burnham’s deputy Mayor, Dennis Davey, in viewing the vintage vehicles from the town’s rescue hovercraft, which was towed along the seafront during the event.

Last year, the event raised £2,000 for Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance. It is hoped that a similar amount has been raised for this year’s beneficiary, the Children’s Hospice South West.


The outward route from Glastonbury to Burnham-On-Sea was as follows:

> Bretenoux Road, Glastonbury
> Butleigh Road
> Bere Lane
> Chilkwell Street
> Lambrook Street
> Wells Road
> Tin Bridge Roundabout
> Glastonbury Bypass
> Street Bypass
> Walton
> Ashcott
> Woolavington Corner
> turning into Woolavington
> East Huntspill
> Basin Bridge
> Walrow Industrial Estate
> A38 to Edithmead Roundabout
> left into Burnham-On-Sea
> along the sea front to the south Esplanade

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