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From the chair September 2014
publication date: Sep 1, 2014
author/source: John Kendall
It’s 1 September as I write, a subtle reminder that summer is sliding gently into autumn and from a motoring scribe’s perspective, the round of autumn motor shows will be on us soon, with accompanying launches.
Thanks to VW for hosting our August meeting at Calcot Manor and of course the chance to catch up with their latest models such as the Golf Plus replacement, the SV. We don’t have another meeting scheduled until the AGM on 14 November at Mitsubishi’s UK offices in Cirencester.
No doubt we shall be talking about the PR Driving Day 2015. As I write, we are still finalising the date, but early June is favourite and as soon as we have confirmation from Castle Combe we shall circulate it.
I was sorry to learn of the death of Frank Page during August. Frank will probably best be remembered by many as a BBC TV Top Gear presenter between 1980 and 1990, but he was also one of the small group of Fleet Street motoring editors, working as the Observer’s motoring editor between 1968 and 1982, then for the Mail on Sunday, from 1982 to 1995. He was also chairman of the Guild of Motoring Writers from 1983-1984.
Frank began his motoring writing career on a motor trade title, Garage and Motor Agent in 1952. Today, most motoring writers struggle to spend more than a night away on a press event, but I remember Frank once telling me about a 1950s BMC press trip he attended that lasted for five weeks and took the selected scribes around the world. Imagine trying to get that past an editor today, or finding a journalist with the time to go.
Frank was fondly remembered by family and friends at his funeral, with friend and former Observer and Top Gear colleague Sue Baker recalling Frank’s life as a journalist. We extend our sympathies to his widow Sam, his daughters and their families.
You can find Frank in many archive episodes of Top Gear on YouTube. He also provided an interesting insight into growing up during WWII, which you can find here.