13 members from Area 20 were up bright and early for a meet up at Exeter services for our 'Drive it' day out to Middlewick House near Corsham where we were joined by another 5 members for a special 'open garden' event hosted by Nick and Annette Mason at their magnificent home.
Nick, Pink Floyd's famous drummer, is of course also well known for his other passion - motor racing. His awesome collection of cars were beautifully displayed around the grounds of his property as he, and his wife Annette, kindly opened their garden to the public in aid of two very worthwhile charities; Wiltshire Bobby Van Trust and the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
Splitting into small groups for our drive up via a scenic route, thanks go to Gavin and Tracey Connor and David and Jackie Crook who, with Simon Moore, expertly lead the three groups across country to arrive at Middlewick House just before the event opened to the public. The helpful team of willing volunteers from The Bobby Van Trust manning the car park, ably assisted by Tim Hipwell, saw us quickly parked up together and raising our standard announcing the club's arrival!
The lawn in front of the house featured some of Nick's beautiful Ferrari collection including his 1953 250MM, alongside a 1955 Jaguar D Type, 1931 4.5ltr Bentley Vandenplas and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato to name just a few. But it was his beautiful collection of LM Model Aston Martin's which were given pride of place outside the entrance to the house. A competition car with few creature comforts, the works LM model 1.5-litre racer tackled everything from Le Mans to the Mille Miglia in their heyday and, naturally, Nick Mason has three: LM17, LM18 and LM21, which he’s owned and raced since 1973.
Nick himself was to be spotted mingling and chatting amongst the public throughout the day and as the weather brightened up we spent a very pleasant afternoon chatting over a bite of lunch overlooking Nick's garages full of more classics while the Wiltshire Air Ambulance hovered overhead.
Special thanks go to Jennie Shaw, Nick's pa for organising this two day event, which she told us she thought had attracted something in the region of a staggering 5000 people on each day this year, and who still found time to make us feel very welcome.