Santa's Bikers at Galanos House Christmas '16
Just before Christmas 2016, the Warwickshire section of the Riders Branch of the Royal British Legion (RBLR) organised a Christmas Present Run in support of the Galanos House Care Home in Southam. Located on the Banbury Road on the edge of Southam, the care home is exclusive to ex-service personnel and their dependents. It is funded by the Royal British Legion and is one of the Legion’s six care homes it operates in England. Galanos House has sixty spacious en-suite bedrooms, and thirty more in “Poppy Lodge”, a special dementia unit; residents are cared for by experienced nurses and dedicated care assistants 24 hours a day.
The event went very well, with our Byfield Branch members donating a large number of the simple items Galanos House staff had suggested, including soap, shaving cream, hand cream, toothpaste etc. all of which were carefully packed (well, squeezed actually) into our Secretary Alan’s Santasack and safely fixed to the rear carrier of his 1928 Ariel*.
The event’s assembly point was the "Long Itch Diner", a very popular transport style café just south of the village of Long Itchington. Alan rode over and handed our bagful of goodies to Tim Fountain, the RBLR Warwickshire Rep. In the photo below, that’s Tim in the Christmas jumper next to Hi-Vis Alan in front of his bike.
About twenty RBLR riders on modern motorcycles, along with Alan and one other old bike, plus a couple of cars full of presents then set off for the short ride down the road to Galanos House, where the gang were enthusiastically received by staff and residents alike. There the group mixed with the occupants for tea, coffee and conversation about old times, and of course the ceremony of stacking presents. When everyone was ready to leave, many of the residents and staff came outside to listen to the bikes roar into life, and wave them off – it seemed their day was definitely made!
Galanos house is a very visible example of what the RBL is all about, so please take a moment to look at their Web site: http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-support/living-independently/care-homes/galanos-house/
*For the mechanically minded, our Alan’s Ariel was built in 1928 in Selly Oak Birmingham. His is the “Super Sports” Model E, being the top of the range that year. It has a 500cc 22 bhp twin port engine (i.e. twin exhaust pipes) and has a stated top speed of 70 mph. Alan is a little more sedate these days and rarely winds the throttle wide but often has occasion to use it’s huge amounts of torque; as its registration number suggests, the bike can pull strongly from 17 mph in top gear. It has a three speed Sturmey Archer gearbox with a hand gear change and cost £52 when new. Would you believe that then, lights and a speedometer were optional extras for an additional £5? Alan has owned his Ariel since 1999, and he generally does about 1,000 miles each year on Vintage Motor Cycle Club runs in the UK, and into the near continent.
For more information about The RBL Riders’ Branch see: http://rblr.co.uk/web/