In 2004 we were approached by a gentleman whose friend had recently died and who had a collection of vintage speedway machines and memorabilia and he asked if we knew where these might be displayed as his widow did not wish to sell them. Discussing this at a 2005 committee meetings of the World Speedway Riders’ Association (formally the Veteran Speedway Riders’ Association), Terry Stone said that Dingle Brown had told him that he had been considering starting a museum and that it might be a possibility to site it at The Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne, Herts, which is owned by former rider Pete Sampson.
A couple of meetings withPete Sampson and it was agreed to go ahead with the proposal and the committee subsequently sent pledge requests to all members and a considerable number of businesses and people connected with speedway. The response initially was reasonable but then the momentum picked up as individuals and speedway clubs started offering donations. One of the committee members, George Barclay, offered to give his full commitment to the job of trying to raise the necessary money during this and next speedway season. Back to the top
2005 April - the first 19 pledges from WSRA members was for £1990 but the actual amount received was £3280 what an encouraging start and many of the track promoters were very helpful with Tony Mole being nothing short of an inspiration.
2005 May - approximately 50 donors had raised over £7000 showing the enthusiasm with which members of the WSRA supported the project with the additional amount of £18,000 guaranteed in pledges we were looking at over £25,000 raised by the middle of this month. The 21st & 22nd saw the fund raising activities at the British Motorcycle Federation meet at Peterborough Showground. The Men in Black in attendance talking speedway racing to all and sundry. In the same month Wimbledon Speedway was the first track to hold a collection adding a substantial amount to the fund. Virtually all tracks had agreed to hold a collection for the fund, Shane Parker of the World Speedway Riders’ Association worked to enable current riders to donate to the fund if they so wish and a large number of businesses were ready to be contacted as soon as the fund reached a figure that confirmed to them that serious efforts were being made and this project is worth supporting.
2005June - the fund raising had been going for almost 3 months and already it was within £100 of halfway way target of £55,000. The 18th & 19th the WSRA Patron, Lord Montagu offered a free stand at Beaulieu for the fantastic Motorcycle World meeting.
2005 July - the 16th and a stall was set up at the London City Airport open day in conjunction with Terry Stone and the Men in Black road show. The 23rdRye House track arranged for a collection at the Vic Harding Memorial Trophy. The Speedway Museum Fund badges went on sale at £4 and many other ideas for fund raising were being received from all sections of those associated with speedway. Many of the tracks started to add coverage in their programmes and Peter Oakes continued to publish the progress in the Speedway Star, as did Tony Macdonald publisher of Backtrack and the VSM Magazines, web sites were being updated and offers of help in the form of legal expertise and building materials, every donation in whatever form went into the building as costs were being met separately. It was in July 2005 that it was noted that the fund was over half way towards the target set of £55,000 it was now beginning to look as if it would now be impossible not to reach our aim.
2005 August - saw one of those fantastic last bend overtakes! With the end of the season rapidly approaching the funds are now: guaranteed pledges £19,000, already received £15,582 giving a total of £34,852 and leaving a balance needed of £20,418 to reach the target of £55,000 this amount was quoted to build the structure and as much else as it would cover. We were lucky to have the advantage of Peter Sampson’s connections with the construction industry and was able to guide us with the acquisition of materials and labour, Patrick Bowens offer to pass on up to date display items that he frequently acquires, Dave Sear offered to install a fire alarm system and his colleague was keen to provide fire extinguishers, Darren Boocock promised paint and Peter Billingham said he will do any paintings required, of riders not building this time. And there were still many tracks who had promised to have collections before the end of the 2005 season.
2005 September - gave a massive boost to the fund taking it past the 70% mark with 39,500 raised or guaranteed most of the additional money coming from track collections that had taken place during September and donations from the current riders were arriving most days as well.
2005 November - saw the total raised to over £43,000 passing the 79% of the target, gratitude must go to all who have helped with so much enthusiasm during 2005 with particular credit to George Barclay and his partner Lynda Christie who worked like beavers all year “extracting” funds in any way possible as long as it was legal. Peter Sampson and his family at Paradise Wildlife Park continued to encourage and support the efforts towards the building of the museum there, happily welcoming a number of fans who have visited the park during the year. Still requiring £12,000 and the closed season upon us there was still much to be done and plan to make for the following year. Back to the top
New year, new hope there is much confidence that the target will be reached as by the beginning of the new year the amount raised reached £47,730 (87% of the required fund) just £7,270 (say it quickly) Although there was less opportunity during the closed season to raise money the Sunderland re-union raised an incredible £500 and the article in Opposite Lock (members magazine) has achieved a great response from the WSRA members. Thanks to Dave Dowling and the Association of Referees who raised funds with a raffle at their pre-season meeting and March saw the start of the 2006 season and promises of further track collections have been made.
February 2006 - It was now almost a year since George Barclay and Linda Christie offered to raise the money required to build the Speedway Museum at Paradise Wildlife Park and the end of the collecting of funds and the start of the museum were in sight. At the end of the 2005 season we were still needing £12,000 but the donations were arriving still and there was less than £4,000 needed to reach the target of £55,000The Speedway Star this month continues it’s support of the museum with a report from Peter Oakes with some great photos by Mike Patrick.
2006 March - no longer a dream but reality! The fund raising is nearly complete and building will be able to start shortly, with the first three tracks having taken collections for the Speedway Museum Fund this season, in addition to the dozen who did so in 2005, the finances were now so close to reaching the final target that those involved were going full throttle for the project’s completion.
Many offers were made of machines from all eras, clothing and riding equipment, artefacts and memorabilia, and it was announced that the recent British Grand Prix winner, Jason Crump, had confirmed that he will loan of his 2004 World Championship Jawa bike to the speedway museum, whilst six times world number one Ivan Mauger also offered three of his title winning machines.
It was hoped to complete the funding by collections through the summer months, and commence construction of the building in September, then fitting out and preparing for a proposed spring 2007 opening.