| The Manx Grand Prix Supporters Club - A Brief History
The Manx Grand Prix Supporters Club is celebrating a very special milestone last year - It's 25th Anniversary.
The Club was officially formed on the 15th of September 1975 as a result of an incident, which occurred during the traditional Thursday afternoon practise session at the 1975 Manx Grand Prix. Mick Bird came off his Yamaha at Quarry Bends and had to wait some time for the arrival of an ambulance, which was travelling from Ramsey via the Wild Life Park at Ballaugh, in order to transport him to hospital for treatment.
At the same time the helicopter was only available for the two race days held on the Tuesday and Thursday.
There was no cover at all for Practice Week (a group of like minded people felt that financial assistance should be given to enable the rescue helicopter to be available for the whole of the race meeting and not just the race days).
The founder members of the Supporters Club were Mrs Gwen Crellin, Gerald Callister, Raymond Cayley and Mrs Essie Callister.
The first officials were: -
Chairman: Gerald Callister;
Vice Chairman: Ray Griffin;
Secretary: Gwen Crellin;
Treasurer: Essie Callister;
with Committee Members Ken Huggett, Raymond Cayley, Margaret Magee, Dougie Mayne and Frank Fox.
The President was Ken Cowley.
There were 14 Vice Presidents, namely Sir Patterson Fraser, Flight Lt WJ King, JB Mylchreest, RJ Kermeen, Eddie Crooks, Ray Cowles, Geoff Duke, Crommie McCandless, Neil Hanson, Dennis Parkinson, Herbie Mills, Peter Kneale, Des Collins and George Ridgeway.
Money is raised from donations and a variety of events held both on and off the Island by numerous individuals and organisations who all support the Helicopter Fund.
One event, which has been held every year, is the sponsored walk.
The first was at the Bowl in Douglas and for the past 24 years at Ballaugh starting at our Patron, Gwen's home.
This is also the venue for the Crossley Tour Luncheon, which follows the newcomer's coach trip around the course on the Sunday morning of Practice Week.
This scheduled pit stop at Coan Buigh for lunch on the lawn at Gwen's has become a regular event for the past 21 years.
Changing times have seen the hospitality facility at the grandstand updated considerably. When we first provided hospitality for riders in 1976 we operated from a shed. We moved to a marquee and finally progressed to our present place at the Hailwood Center for the Manx Grand Prix fortnight, which is the ideal location for the club.
During the years the rescue helicopter has performed a vital function and is essential to the safety arrangements on the Mountain Course. The quickest and best medical attention is always on hand should any serious incident occur during the practice or race session in the fortnight.
The Club enjoyed a particular highlight in 1994 when Gwen. Who is are patron and Guardian Angel, was awarded the MBE by the Queen for her services to the community including all her hard work for motorcycle racing in the Island. This was a fine achievement and a well-deserved honour for the World Famous Lady in White. A friend to many riders over more years than it would be polite to mention.
We have been lucky indeed to have had a small band of voluntary unpaid workers over the years, some who are sadly no longer with us or have had to retire for personal or other reasons.
In 1999 the Club handed over the sum of £22,000 to the Manx Motorcycle Club which covered the hire of the rescue helicopter for the 1999 Manx Grand Prix Fortnight.
During it's existence the Supporters Club has donated to the Manx Motorcycle Club over £208,000, in addition to supplying medical equipment costing over £10.500 for use in the rescue helicopter and around the TT course. This included 43 scoop stretchers, 30 carrying sheets for stretchers, a portable aspirator, 3 rescue cases and a portable oximeter. Assistance has also been provided for injured riders.
The support recived during the 25 years has been unbelievable and overwhelming and continues to grow. It clearly shoes that the hard work carried out during that time has been appreciated by so many who have contributed to our fund.
If you would like to raise money or donate to the fund then contact
John Kermeen (Chairman), 10 Ballacrosha Estate, Ballaugh, Isle of Man, IM7 2AF or telephone him on 01624 897473.
Should you wish to join the MGP Supporters Club, please contact the membership secretary for a membership form.
Sally Wallis (Membership Secretary)
Isle of Man, IM7 2EX
Current membership costs are:
£25 plus £2 for a badge and year bar for life membership.
£3 plus £2 for a badge and year bar for annual membership.
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