Our Early History
by Mark Steward
You may be surprised to hear that the LSMOC was 25 years old on the 2nd June 2010. This is how it all started…
In 1984 Martin Pink and I went to the National Mini Owners Club event, which was then one of only two Mini events held each year. The following year we decided to get some other cars to join us on the trip to Stanford Hall. We advertised in some local papers and on 2nd June seven Minis met up on the Purley Way. On the way up we stopped at the services and all agreed it was about time something was organised in our area. The Club had started.
Those early Members were the real core of the Club and five of them were still Committee members in 1989. The first officially ‘signed up’ Member was Ann Frearson, who is still a member today. At that time we were called (believe it or not) ‘Mini Owners Club Surrey Region (Incorporating London)’. It soon became very clear that we could not be a region of the National Club and by 1986 we were the LSMOC. Our first event was a barbecue at Horton Country Park, Epsom on the 21st July 1985. Some still remember the hockey puck burgers. Entry was £1 and £1.50 for non-members. After the barbecue the Club acquired its own car to restore. This was our first mistake and ‘Tilly’ was later sold to a Committee Member.
I was trying to find an event we could really call our own and then one Sunday I saw loads of 2CVs going down the Purley Way. This gave me the idea to have a London to Brighton Mini Run and our first Run was held in 1986. We had no idea how many cars would turn up and were pleased to see 220 cars in Brighton. A year later there were 320 and the number increased around 50% each year. We also held our first London Mini Day at Syon Park in 1987, which was a very good event. We also got our first Amstrad Word Processor in 1987 – the start of our IT development. In 1988 the Mini ‘bubble car’ badge was dropped in favour of the more professional looking badge still used to day. On the 3rd October 88 Issingonis died and as a mark of respect a minute’s silence was observed at the Christmas dinner event. In 1989 a formal Committee was established which has successfully run the Club ever since- building on the very old Club motto ‘Run by Member for Members’.
Lots of people have made the Club what it is today and if I miss any of the early ‘pioneers’ off the list below I apologise to them: Martin Pink, Paul Buchanan, Vicky Steward, Carl Tunnicliffe, Julian Carter, Helen Tunnicliffe, Michael Feeney, Andrew Santon, and the much missed Paul Sammes.
In 1995 the club organised the Mini 35th Birthday Party and International Mini Meet at Silverstone. For Mini 40 LSMOC was again at Silverstone but this time as marshals on behalf of Miniworld.
The Club has turned into one of the UK’s largest Mini Clubs with over 800 members. Some of our members are local to the London and Surrey area, but others are spread around the UK and in Europe and enjoy the benefits the club offers. Some belong their local club as well.
We currently run 1 social (see socials page) and we welcome all mini and motoring enthusiasts, even if you are just visiting the area.
Why we what we do
This club is founded on promoting Mini-motoring, safe motoring, fun and friendship. Any enthusiast is welcome. We have a wide range of opinions in the club which we believe is healthy, ranging from those who are die hard Classic Mini enthusiasts, to those who already own both Classic Minis and New Mini. We welcome those who wish to join us in having fun.