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Tom Curtis Memorial Cruise

Neal Crocker

Our annual memorial and Christmas run was once again a great success. Our memorial run is in recognition of Tom Curtis and as with previous years, Liz hosted the Christmas Lunch at her home in Henley Brook. This memorial run is also a time for each of us to reflect on family and friends that are no longer with us and reflect on memories of people close to us and celebrate their lives and also for us to spend some time with fellow club members over a meal.

It was a large turnout to this event. It is great to see that each year the numbers are increasing and we are getting more of our members to our runs and events. It shows the members are building friendships with one another and a stronger feeling of community for both new and longer-term members.

After a slightly delayed start to our December meeting, (not sure if we broke a record there starting at 9:52am, but it might be close!) we had a brief rundown of our last event at Martin & Bev’s house, had our new member Brian Pursell (who is starting his restoration project) display an engine trolley that Peter Mill made for him. Then after a debrief on the route for the memorial run with some minor changes, Martin reminded us that if one car pulled over the rest should still keep going. Then after double checking that everyone was comfortable with the route we finished up with and proceeded to get ready to start the run.

Jim led the convoy again with Tom & Bridget following from the rear. The convoy looked very impressive as we stuck closely together to avoid big gaps between cars.

Although the unavoidable happened a few times (where traffic lights changed to Red only after about 10-15secs from turning Green) we managed to stay in a group until we reached Hepburn Avenue, where unfortunately one car went right onto Hepburn Avenue instead of proceeding straight up West Coast Drive/Whitfords Avenue.

At that point our convoy got split into two, actually three, but more on that later. We drove along Hepburn Avenue and in the process passing our house along the way and then turned left onto Wanneroo Road next to the Kingsway Shopping Centre.

We head north along Wanneroo Road with the goal to join up with the rest of the convey at Ocean Reef Road, but instead we found this massive roadworks project going on there with a crazy makeshift roundabout, that was about the same size as the large roundabout just outside of the Bunbury city centre!

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After surviving the roundabout roadworks we made our way onto Ocean Reef Road and back onto our planned route, we proceeded to head to Tom Curtis’ Memorial at the corner of Altone and Marshall Roads.

When we arrived, we pulled up under the powerlines and in my case scrap the exhaust against the curb, where the sound could be heard by other drivers, just like fingernails on a blackboard when it gives you the shivers! Only in this case it was worse!

After we all got out of our cars we were wondering if we arrived too late and missed everyone else or we were well ahead of time. I called Clint on his mobile and he was wondering what happened to us all and then he mentioned that they were only a few minutes away.

But unfortunately, we also found out that on the way here Tom and Bridget had also got separated from us, and in fact, beat us to the memorial. They thought that we must have all arrived before them and that they missed us, so they then proceeded directly to Liz’s house. When I called them, they had already arrived!

Once the remainder of the convoy arrived, we all proceeded to walk over to Tom’s memorial to pay our respects and Liz said a few words and a prayer for him. After a group photo at Tom’s memorial we then continued back to our cars.

While we were getting back into our cars a Police car slowed down to look at our Valiants and what we were doing. For a moment there I thought they were going to do an on-the-spot inspection or something else, but in fact they were keen car enthusiasts (who would have guessed!) and instead they wanted to see us all take off together so they blocked the road from oncoming traffic while we all moved off! (how kind). Once we had all driven off the Police car came up alongside us and then lead the convoy up until Lord Street before we continued to Liz’s on our own! 

We were greeted by Larry Banks and Tom Howard when we pulled up to park at Liz’s house. After a brief chat and look at the cars we met up with Liz’s family and friends from the bicycle club.

A lot of people contributed to the lunch by bringing a dish to help Liz on the day and we were luckily that the weather was not too hot. It was fantastic to see everyone enjoying themselves on the day and taking time to have a chat with other members both old and new.

Robert Doherty and his wife (new members, who purchased Martin & Bev’s R-Series) also made it up from Dardanup to be there and meet some of the club members.

After our meal we had a small gathering at the gazebo and said a prayer for Tom, Raquel and other friends/family that may have passed.

A big thank you to everyone that contributed in the lead-up to and on the day and for Liz & Rob for hosting us all. It was a memorable day for everyone.

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