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Rosemary tells us her story
Paddy relates his story

Tom Niven auctions signed  rally plate

Paddy poses for group photo with organisers and friends after the dinner.

Rosemary gives Douglas a few tips for tomorrows start

Some of the guests enjoying  the pre gala dinner dinner

Graeme Gallaoway's Anglia
Monte Pre- Gala dinner - 22 January

Brian Telfer and Douglas Anderson welcome honoured guests Paddy Hopkirk and Rosemary Smith at the top table. 

The cars were prepared, the documentation all ready for scrutineering, so it was time for the entrants and a group of classic car and Monte enthusiasts to relax before the big day. What better place to hold a dinner than in the Monte Carlo room at the Blythswood Hotel, former HQ for the RSAC, and starting venue for many Monte Carlo Rallyes from 1949 onwards.

We greeted and had the opportunity to chat to our special guests of honour Rosemary Smith and Paddy Hopkirk over a glass of champagne before the dinner.  They seemed as excited as us at the prospect of being involved once more in a 'Monte', both having competed in the event during their competitive rallying years.

Brian Telfer acted as Master of Ceremonies, and with everyone in place and the guests formally introduced we sat down to a fine meal, surrounded by framed photographs of Monte Carlo events from the fifties and sixties.  We started with a good Scottish plate of cullen skink, followed by chicken in a white wine sauce and completed the meal with another Scottish tradition, Cranachan

Fully fed and watered,the diners sat back to hear Rosemary Smith tell us how she became a works driver for Rootes, and some of the very interesting and often amusing stories of life behind the wheel of a Hillman Imp in the early sixties, and some of her exploits on the snow and ice of the alps on the Monte Carlo Rally.

After a great round of applause for Rosemary, her good friend and fellow rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk took up the story giving us an insight to his early career and life with Henry LIddon on that famous 1964 event when he drove a Mini Cooper to is first major win. Paddy thought it wasn't bad for a car designed for a district nurse! Paddy also presented some exclusive video footage which was produced for TV adverts to celebrate the original and the new mini, but never shown in the UK.  

In finishing Paddy told us a little about the charity SKIDZ, which he supports. SKIDZ instil key skills and facilitates young people in their progression into employment or further training in the motor industry, by offering vocational opportunities in motor mechanics. Under the guidance of experienced motor technicians, the students work on cars and motor cycles to learn basic primary skills. For others classes are conducted in pursuit of more formal qualifications in the motor industry.

It was time to hold our raffle, prizes including posters and memorabilia, plus 
Monte scrutineer Ian Higgins donated a bottle of  18 year old Scotch Whisky, a bottle of Vodka and a bottle of champagne. The whisky or vodka could prove useful in the alps as Paddy was reported to have put Gin in the windscreen washer to prevent it freezing on the 1964 event.      

The raffle was then followed by an auction, the proceeds going to further support the SKIDZ initiative. Signed posters, including an original ACM Monte 2014 poster, rally plates, and a signed copy of Paddy's book 'The Paddy Hopkirk Story' which is now out of print and collectors can pay £250 for a pristine signed copy,

After some exciting bidding the final total from both raffle and auction came to nearly £1500. Not bad for room full of Scotsmen, not renowned for putting their hands into their wallets!

After the dinner Paddy and Rosemary were more than happy to sit and chat over a glass or two, and did so into the small hours. A great evening with two great legends in the rallying world, and we were lucky to have them both together for the Monte Carlo Historique pre-gala dinner in Glasgow. 

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Updated 26 January 2014