Join our club - Alresford's clubs and societies
PUBLISHED: 12:09 14 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:11 20 February 2013
Claire Pitcher finds she has a crush on classic cars, a passion for painting and a taste for the theatre when she becomes honorary member for the day at three of Alresford's clubs and societies
Allsorts Motor Club
It all began with local Alresford man George Watson, who ran a furniture restoration company from the Old Fire Station in Broad Street. A classic car lover and owner, he decided to set up the Allsorts Motor Club on November 17, 1990 when it had just six members. Now, 21 years later, 60 members get together every month to share their passion for the motor vehicles of days gone by.
The clubs event organisers Paul and Susan Ramsden became members when they purchased a 1937 Morris 8 in 1995 and signed up to the clubs three principles, which Susan defines as, One: any person interested in motoring in whatever form could be a member (hence the name of the club). Two: The club would support local charities and events and three: there are to be no other rules.
Members are not just based in Alresford either; some are from Winchester and Alton, but we also have members from Farnham, Yately, Romsey, Basingstoke and the Isle of Wight. Between them they own more than 140 vehicles, including some very rare and valuable ones, she explains.
And its not just cars that turn up at the clubs events, there are bicycles and motorcycles too of varying ages the oldest car being a 1901 Adler 4 hp; a 1904 Alder 2 hp the oldest motorbike, and the most iconic of bikes, a 1898 Ordinary (Penny Farthing). In fact, says Susan, our members own the oldest Rover and the oldest known Alder Cars in the world!
It must be a marvellous sight to see such cars out and about on Hampshires roads when the club goes on their drive-outs to local pubs during the summer months from April to October. But they dont always just go on jolly jaunts, Weve also had a driving test on a local farmers field and for several years some 20 members have taken their cars to show at RAF Odihams Family Day, enthuses Susan. Weekends are also spent visiting motor museums and over the years members have taken part in international events like the London to Brighton Veteran car Run and the Classic Le Mans in France.
Rain doesnt stop play in the winter either, when Allsorts meet at The Swan in Alresford to hear guest speakers from such organisations as Hampshire Air Ambulance and the Gordon Keeble Owners Club. And its not all in the aid of good fun, many local charities such as Naomi House and Hampshire Fire and Rescue have benefitted from the clubs many events so theyre not just raising eye brows as they drive by, their raising much needed funds too.
Find out more about the club and how to become a member at www.vintage.demon.co.uk/Allsorts.htm
Alresford Art Society
People flock from miles around every summer to visit the Alresford Art Societys Summer Exhibition which, this year, is on from July 15 to 17. Amazing works of art adorn the walls of Alresfords Community Centre all created by the talented artists that attend the lessons and meetings held throughout the year. Local residents are also lucky enough to peruse such paintings at a running exhibition (changed every three months) at the Alresford Surgery, as well as in the corridors of Makins Court in the town.
David Hughes has been chairman of the society for the past two years and became a member himself when he retired, Ive always been interested in art, particularly art history, so I decided to have a go at the real thing. Im not a natural artist, but there are plenty in the society for me to admire, he says.
The society was established in 1965 by locals Ursula Oxley and Alan Charlton and its very first members met in the front room over Lawrence Oxleys Bookshop in Broad Street. It now boasts 177 members from the surrounding Alresford villages, as well as Liss, Farnham, Alton, Winchester, Stockbridge and Basingstoke (to name a but a few) who, from September to June, attend monthly meetings, plus four outdoor painting days at venues across Hampshire. The meetings are varied in content with demonstrators in all mediums; speakers on various aspects of arts and group activities such as life drawings, David describes. Theyve had some famous faces as demonstrators too, including watercolourists Charles Evans and Terry Harrison and Gordon Rushmer, a renowned war artist, who took along images from the front line in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The society is involved in a plethora of events this year; the Summer Exhibition of course, plus members are also working with teachers and pupils at Cheriton School to put on an Art Day on May 14, using 3D work, mosaics, photography and pastels to help them with displays at the village summer show and Alresford Show in September. In fact, since David has taken the helm, they have worked more and more with local schools to encourage pupils artistic flair.
So what is it members most love about the society? Undoubtedly the social exchange were a very friendly society, he boasts. And it must be all the tips and wrinkles that can be picked up from our meetings, workshops, painting days and classes too.
Daytime and evening classes are open to all. Find out more on the societys website at www.artsociety.alresford.org
Alresford Community Theatre Society
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oliver and Toad of Toad Hall just three of Alresford Community Theatres (ACTS) productions since the society was formed back in 1999. It was after the founders, Susan Morris and Rosie Waring Green, successfully staged two productions The Grain of Mustard Seed and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat at St Johns Church in Alresford, that they both recognised a need for such a group to be open to all ages in the town. Now our 60 members not only take part in the productions, but also workshops, quiz evenings, socials and in the summer, our annual treasure hunt and barbecue, explains Rosie.
Bringing such productions together can be a tricky challenge, one in particular, Circus, Rosie says was especially troublesome, We had a vision of using a real circus big top and I travelled to Bristol to track one down. Three weeks before curtain up the local licence authority said they wouldnt grant us a licence to use the seating belonging to the circus, which meant we had to spend 2,000 to hire in chairs for the audience. It turned out to be a great success, even though one night we discovered the big top had sprung a leak!
But the show must go on and everyone involved in ACTS shares the same commitment to entertain and put on great productions, Theres such a strong sense of community, recognises Rosie. People join because they love working with new friends and for personal fulfilment. And its not just adults who take part; we have a wide age range, from seven to 77!
Following their musical treat The Boyfriend in February, ACTS next production is Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, on November 19. If youre not a member already now is your chance to take a starring role, whether it be behind the scenes making costumes or up front wowing audiences with your acting prowess.
Find out more about becoming a member on the ACTS website at www.actstheatre.co.uk