The 31st AGM of the Road Roller Association was held on Saturday 5th March 2005 at The Novotel, Ipswich, Suffolk. As has been customary, since the start of the 1980’s, a whole weekend of activities aimed at the whole family had been arranged.
As the venue involved a long journey for many Members no formal activities had been arranged for the Friday evening, apart from the social gathering at the Hotel. A convivial evening was had by members and their families, making inroads into the two 9 gallon casks of Real Ale that had been specially laid on.
After breakfast on the Saturday morning approximately 50 people boarded an AEC Regent Double Decker, ex Ipswich Corporation Transport, to travel to the Ipswich Transport Museum which had been specially opened for the Association's visit. On the way to the Museum the bus made a brief tour of Ipswich, passing the former site of the Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries works. Ipswich Transport Museum has the largest collection of transport items in Britain devoted to just one town. As well as guided tours of the Museum a slide show showing the history of transport in Ipswich was provided. Of particular interest to Members were a 1910 Aveling and Porter Living van, a 1925 Barford and Perkins Motor Roller and other items of road making machinery. For further details of the museum please see Ipswich Transport Museum. As we left all agreed that the Museum is well worth a visit for all those interested in vintage transport.
The AEC Regent returned everybody to the Hotel in time for the buffet lunch.
The AGM itself began at 2:00 p.m., with approximately 50 Members in attendance, concluding at 4:15 p.m.. The normal business of the AGM was carried out. With one exception the existing Committee was re-elected en masse, the exception being Dave Crampton who is stepping down after serving on the Committee in a number of Roles over the last 25 years. In recognition of Dave’s outstanding service to the Association he was unanimously elected to be a life member of the Association.
Two of the three trophies awarded each year at the AGM were, this year, awarded to ladies. The premier trophy, the RRA Trophy, was awarded to Teri Baker in recognition of the help she had provided during 2004. Teri had looked after the Sales Stand at the 2004 AGM, while the Sales Officer was giving away one of his daughters, and had assisted in the staging of the special 30th Anniversary display at Dorset. The RRA Driving Trophy was awarded to Donna Taylor, in recognition of having recently passed her Group G Driving test. The odd man out, in the nicest sense, is Pete Smith, who was awarded the Armstrong Whitworth Shield in recognition of his excellent restoration of an ex-Buckinghamshire County Council Aveling living van, complete with vice and everything.
Following the AGM, Members mingled for a short while, and it was during this period, shortly before 5:00 p.m., that the first of the casks of Real Ale, The Green King Abbott, ran out! At 5:00 p.m. Stephen Mael, the Museum Manager of The Long Shop Museum, Leiston, gave a short illustrated talk on Garrett’s of Leiston, as a taster for the visit the following morning.
Approximately 60 people (Members and their families and guests) sat down for an Evening Meal at approximately 7:30 p.m.. The social gathering continued until the early hours, with the second cask of Real Ale, the Green King IPA, running out at approximately 9:30 p.m.!
At approximately 10:30 a.m. on the Sunday morning approximately 50 people gathered in the car park at The Long Shop Museum, Leiston, to be greeted by Garrett Road Roller No. 34265, Consuelo Allen, of 1923 which had been steamed especially for our visit. Stephen Mael guided everyone around the Museum explaining the Garrett story. We were also able to see Garrett Suffolk Punch Tractor No. 33180, The Joker, of 1919, Garrett Tractor No. 32944, Princess Marina, of 1916, and Merryweather Steam Fire Engine No. 4296, Queen Victoria, of 1901 within the Museum. For further details of The Long Shop Museum please see The Long Shop Museum. This was a Museum that many members had wanted to visit for some while, and all agreed that the visit had been worthwhile.
Garrett Road Roller No. 34265 Consuelo Allen - Photograph Copyright Richard Buck 2005
Following a buffet lunch most people then traveled across to the other side of Ipswich to visit Alan Hines’ yard at Wattisham. Here we found 3 engines, with 2 of them being steamed especially for our visit. In steam were Alan Hines’s Ruston Proctor Traction Engine No. 49804, Jack, of 1914, and Mervyn Button’s Aveling & Porter Road Roller No. 10718 of 1923. The third engine Aveling & Porter Tractor No. 10563 of 1923, converted from a Road Roller many years ago, was waiting for its 10 year hydraulic test. Also present was an Aveling & Porter Type GA Motor Roller. On what was a bitterly cold afternoon those attending would like to thank Alan, Mervyn and their crews for steaming their engines, and the ladies of the Hines family who provided copious amounts of tea and coffee and home made cakes.
As usual the social side of the weekend was very enjoyable. The Committee would like to thank all those members who attended and made this another RRA AGM Weekend to be remembered.
For the first time the Association had made use of an agency, “History in Harmony” to book the Hotel, rather than book the Hotel themselves. Benefits of this were less work for Committee Members of the Association, and a better rate for rooms for those stopping at the Hotel. One other benefit was that “History in Harmony” had the clout to negotiate with the Hotel to get the Real Ale made available, a requirement for all true Roller men and women, as the Hotel would not otherwise have had any decent beer available.