23rd September 2016
Every pastime has a club and whether you’re into classic cars, cooking or caravanning, doing the meet & greet with likeminded folks is a simple and rewarding process. The same rule applies to owners of Bailey leisure vehicles- motorhomes or caravans – and thanks to The Bailey Owners’ Club, we spent the weekend at their biennial rally at Dyrham Park.
But this is a rally like no other as the Bailey of Bristol team open their doors for the weekend, lay on food, music and guided factory tours as a way of saying thanks to the BOC members. Friday saw the new parts facility on the M4/M5 junction throw open its doors, and with us arriving a little late due to an after-school dash to Bath and Bristol, we were greeted by a pulled pork buffet, ice creams and Bailey’s new marketing guru, Bart, singing to the massed crowd. Friday night wasn’t karaoke night and with gigging also on his CV, it turns out the boy can really sing. Who knew?
Charlie was looking forward to Saturday the most as he’d get to see where, and how, our Pursuit was made during the factory tour. From a basic floor and chassis to the finished article, we followed the motorhome and caravan journey – from embryonic stage to flying the nest - with Charlie’s favorite part being the ‘naked’ caravan which was internally complete but stood in all its unfinished glory minus walls and a roof. The caravans travel quite a distance as they zig-zag through the factory before popping-out the ‘finished’ door and a shoulder ride coupled with the promise of tea, cake and a caricature at the end spurred him on, as did the promise of Saturday night’s entertainment.
The large marquee in the grounds of Dyrham Park was our venue for the evening and 300-ish Bailey owners filled the tables in readiness for a disco, dancing and a great soul singer. I thought the kids may have been tired from the factory tour but they proved me wrong with Charlie showcasing his best ‘Strictly’ moves on the dancefloor.
Proudly displayed in his office at Bailey HQ, Simon Howard has a few ‘awards’ from the Bailey Owners’ Club. Called Wally’s, the proud recipient has generally excelled at something they wished they hadn’t and Simon seems remarkably adept at scooping them up, albeit with a little help from the BOC team and their attention to detail. Sunday morning is traditionally the day when the results are in and this good-natured laugh over a cup of cha includes a verbal bloopers reel from set-up to flag down. You could’ve cut the atmosphere with a knife as the results were read out, but Simon didn’t go home disappointed. He came, he saw, and he was awarded another Wally.
Why not join the Bailey Owner’s Club for their 2018 factory tour, or any number of their events between now and then? It’s fun, amazingly friendly and fantastic value. Visit www.baileyownersclub.org for more details.