Friends of the TRNC Emergency Services
Afternoon Tea Talk – Steve Sydenham
On 13th March, the Friends of the TRNC Emergency Services held their first Afternoon Tea Talk of 2013 and it was nice to have this popular event back again. The speaker was Steve Sydenham who had given a talk last year about his time in motor racing and his talk for this event was the characters he had met over the years “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.
Mike Plant welcomed everyone and announced the various forthcoming events including the “Friendship Ball” which is being held at The Rocks Hotel, Girne on 11th April. He also thanked the Mountain View Hotel who have in fact not yet opened for the season but had made the normal facilities available for this event as a special favour.
There were around 50 people present so it was a nice gathering of familiar faces and also some new ones. We all tucked in to the sandwiches, cake and scones (with jam and cream) and the smiling waiters came around with tea and coffee. Raffle tickets were being sold and there were also some greetings cards and other items available for sale at the end of the room.
When people had finished their tea, Steve Sydenham was introduced and he proceeded to tell us more about his experiences in Formula 1 and other motor racing areas. In 1987 Steve was awarded the Frank Williams Trophy for his services to motor racing and this was on display, as at his previous talk. Steve started Racing for Britain in 1977 in order to help and encourage young drivers in the world of motor racing. Steve talked about the people he liked and those he was not so keen on, some of the names I knew but as I do not follow motor racing there were others I had no recollection of, one was David Leslie who was unfortunately killed in an air crash in 2008. Another was Richard Morgan, an extremely shy man, who Steve told us had given a lot of help with Racing for Britain but eventually decided to retire from the motor racing scene. One of Steve’s favourite characters in the motor racing world was Murray Walker and said he was one of the nicest people he had ever met in the sport. There was also Mr Nice Guy – Damon Hill who followed in his father’s footsteps and was very successful. Steve spoke about Nigel Mansell, James Hunt and Stirling Moss and his recollections of these racing drivers as well as many others.
During his time with Racing for Britain, Steve was invited to go to the USA to assist in a similar project in the motor racing sport and he found this a very interesting experience.
Steve enjoyed his time in the motor racing world but eventually after some hiccups in the sponsorship area, he too decided to move away but he has some lovely memories of his time involved in the motor racing world of sport.
There were some prints of sketches of motor racing drivers for sale and one was offered for auction of Nigel Mansell but as there were no reasonable bids it was decided to withdraw it and take it to the Friendship Ball.
Then came the raffle, with some nice prizes, followed by Mike’s goodie bag of salt and pepper pots which is always a very funny interlude with Mike’s little anecdotes about the various pieces. I won a pair of amorous tortoises which will now join a previously won similar pair of pots.
It was nice to get back to the Afternoon Tea Talks, they are always very enjoyable with a lot of laughter and interesting talks given by different speakers so I am looking forward to the next one in April which will be on Wednesday 17th.
By Margaret Sheard