15th May 2008
When Graham Ham and the Kent Contingent decide to do something, they do it properly. The story of Flossie's Big Day will bring a lump to the throat of even the ruftiest and tuftiest classic motorcyclist...
Graham Ham - sometime message board poster, serial Triumph abuser and author of Daisie's Diaries – has been taxiing blind Catherine Westbrook to school for the last year. Somehow, they convinced themselves that the ideal method of transport for her last day at school would be a classic bike.
A couple of internet forum postings later, and Flossie is on her way to school in Kent Shaun's Gay Goose sidecar outfit, with half the classic bikes in the South east doff-doffing along in front. Here's Graham's story, with photos from Grandad and himself:
“I can't claim I wasn't nervous when the great day dawned. Blimey, what if nobody showed up, and what on earth would I do if the 'Gay Goose' fell apart or melted? Would Radio Kent come? Would the BBC TV people show up?
“Well, I had no time to worry - I had to go get the family in me taxi and bring 'em all back here. I got a phone call on route: 'Don't be disappointed' it said 'There's seven bikes here, but they're all good blokes - we'll still make it a great day!'
“I HAD hoped there would be more .....but then again Flossie was only EVER expecting two or three bikes .... so SHE wouldn't be dissapointed.
“Right then, with the bikes on their way in, Flossie's mum took her into my house to 'dress up' in her fifties gear ...... and at this moment a bloke with a flippin' great camera wandered up the drive and so the BBC HAD kept their promise ?
[Watch the BBC news report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7399570.stm]
“Things were looking up!
“Flossie reappeared - done up to the nines, and we did some intro filming with the Beeb whilst we waited for the 'escort' to arrive - and then...
“Wow ! Listen to THAT lot Flossie!
“FANTASTIC! What a turn-out .... I counted 'em in - 32 Bikes!
“Although time was a bit short, I took Flossie around the assembled throng and we chatted to as many folk as we could within the time we had, but soon it was time to mount up and head into the big event...
“First we had to get Flossie in that chair ...
“And we were OFF !
“So... Off we went. A great pack of bikes playing that most glorious of signature tunes - and for Flossie that was just the ticket - the sounds, the smells ..... MARVELLOUS!
“And here I must apologise ! When we got there, we were so tightly packed amongst a huge throng that most of us couldn't actually get off the bikes to get photos! But trust me when I tell you - we arrived last and we brought the house down ! You saw it on the TV broadcast when the Head Teacher said "..she stole the show - good for her!..."
“So, whilst Flossie was in school passing out, us lot went to the Spitfire and Hurricane museum at Manston, and there Flosie's family got to mingle.
“Finally we could go get Flossie, and after a quick 'knicker change' - which she untertook in the back of the BBC TV van - Flossie was ready to take her rightful position; riding pillion on Daisy.
“I nearly forgot - I promised Flossie that if she dressed up in 50's stuff I would wear the Blue Suede Shoes... and here they are:
“We had enough cash left to take Flossie out on a fishing boat out of Ramsgate. The Skipper is giving us the boat and His time free - we just have to pay for fuel. There's enough cash to go waaaay out and find the BIG fish, and that is happening next Saturday.
“We are also getting all these photos printed professionally, and mounted in two big albums. That's for her Mum and her Grandparents - a permanent record of Flossie's 'passing out day'
“Thank you all, for everything!
“Marvellous. Get yerselves a beer - Shaun's Paying!”
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