June 2011 ~ Midget 50 Celebration
at Burghley House in Linconshire, UK
The day of this long-planned celebration of the 50 years of the MG Midget dawned sunny and bright but rain was forecast for later in the morning. Jointly organised by the MG Car Club, the MG Owners Club and the Midget & Sprite Club, the event was held in the park surrounding the stately home of Burghley House where the famous horse trials take place annually. The team had sold tickets for some 700 cars and when we arrived shortly after 8 a.m. Midgets and Sprites of all varieties were trickling in, accompanied by a few MGBs and one or two modern TFs.
Paul Woolmer gathered together a number of historic Midgets and Sprites which included, of course, one of the two Jacobs Midgets owned by Malcolm Beer, 771 BJB. As Dennis Wharf (who was on the organising team) commented afterwards "The best bit for me was seeing 771BJB driving slowly out complete with hampers, flasks, folders, and a picnic table, all stuffed in here and there with the spare wheel and spanners - great stuff!" Also there was the ex-Works Midget, 6 GRX, of Dave and Nikki Saunders ~ the car driven by Rauno Aaltonen at Bridgehampton,USA in 1965.
Hoards of Midgets and Sprites lined themselves up across the field and trade stands were set up including one for each of the organising clubs. A line-up of Midgets from 'M' Types, through 'T' Types and all the Marks of post-war Midget, was placed in front of the main house, where a brass band was playing and bacon sandwiches and coffee were being consumed. Peter May had several racing Midgets on display and Lenham, Ashley, Tifosi, were represented, as well as the newly released WSM Sanction 2.
Unfortunately the weather-forecasters had been right for once, and by 10.30 a light drizzle was falling which soon grew heavier. Then the wind got up and it became quite cold diminishing the socialising and picnicking and resulting in many retreating into their cars or visiting the interior of Burghley House. By mid-afternoon, and following the cutting of the birthday cake, the crowds were scurrying for the gate though we went home feeling it had been a very worthwhile and pleasurable day.
My sincere thanks to the organisers, particularly to Dennis Wharf, the MGCC Midget Registrar who helped and supported my plans for a circle of twelve Sebring Sprite replicas displayed near to the "historics".