How the Fenman Classic bike show started
During the early spring of 1989 a group of local classic motorcycle enthusiasts met quite by chance in the bar of the Chequers pub in Wimbotsham and of course the topic was soon that of motorcycles and which classic venues they should visit. It soon became evident that on the August Bank Holiday there were no local events planned and the nearest venue of any significance was near London. Over a beer they approached the subject of having our own small gathering. By the end of the evening they had talked it over, and realised that they had the manpower and a nucleus of classic bikes, on which to base a show.
They came up with the “Fenman” name and Logo. The name was picked to identify the Fenland area which Wimbotsham borders, and was taken directly from the Fenman express which runs from London to Kings Lynn. The logo, which depicts a farm-hand complete with smock and floppy hat, is indicative of the agricultural nature of our area.
Some £700 was needed “up front” to cover trophies, advertising and printing costs. They paid out of their own pockets, and they gambled on a successful first show. They wondered how they should organise the event, who they should invite and what sort of catering. A captive area was needed on which to site the exhibits, and the landlord kindly offered them the car park behind the pub, as well as the field behind that.
Prior to the first show the Parish Council were approached, for permission to stage the event, who sanctioned the venture with some reservation, for the thought of the village being taken over by gangs of marauding bikers was uppermost on their minds, as it was too on the minds of some village residents. Today there are no worries about the disruption that the show now brings, for this is only one day a year, and the proceeds that are raised all go to very worthy Local causes.
The day of the first show arrived, and so did the visitors from all over East Anglia in numbers far exceeding our expectations. The crowd was well behaved and liked what they saw, for by then they had managed to attract some 60 bikes and a handful of traders to the Venue. That evening when they finally sat down and counted the money they were surprised to find that they had actually made a profit (they had expected at best to only break even) of £500.
Another meeting was called to decide what to do with the proceeds, and it was at this meeting that they decided to give the profit to the Kings Lynn branch of the St Johns Ambulance Service, and from the next show onwards to support Local charities only. As the funds began to grow with the increase of visitors to the show, further charities were looked after, namely the St John Ambulance Service and the British Red Cross. As the village helps the Fenman, so they helped the village, and to date have paid for seats on the village green and Turners Close, as well as donating funds to the Village Hall, the Village School, the Allotments and the Playing Field Fighting Fund. Now in its 29th year the Fenman goes from strength to strength, attracting thousands of visitors each year. The show has now moved across the road to the village school grounds for more space and the traders are now on the playing field but the feel of the show has remained that of a village show. And let hope it continues for many years to come!!