Saturday, 26 November 2016

'Run the Ring' M25 VW Charity Cruise (part 2 of 2)

Welcome to the second of two reviews about the 'Run the Ring' VW charity cruise. It all started whilst I was browsing some Volkswagen groups on Facebook a while ago I spotted a post from a guy called John Emberton who for a joke posted the statement 'who wants to run my ring?'. He was referring to a photo he put up of the M25 motorway and did anyone want to drive around the full length of the motorway (the 'ring' part plays on the Nurburgring race track in Germany) These 2 posts from John generated lots of interest from other people who were all saying what a great idea. John soon realised this event, if it happened could be the longest cruise of Volkswagen Transporters ever seen in the U.K. So John started a new Facebook page: This new page generated so much interest that the page had over 1000 members in the first week!. To date there is just over 3000 members. One of these members was Vicky who has been running the Volksfest show for over 16 years and who is an active fundraiser for the Teenage Cancer Trust, so she asked John if he would mind trying to raise some money for this worthwhile cause, and John agreed without hesitation. Another member Anita offered her help with the marketing and assistance with the branding and clothing. The aim of the event was to create the longest cruise of Volkswagen's the U.K. had ever seen and whilst doing it generate a load of cash for The Teenage Caner Trust. The event quickly came together and for a few weeks my Facebook feed was bombarded with posts from this group, all saying the same thing 'what a great idea', and 'count me in' etc. The event was arranged to take place on Sunday 25th September 2016, (which incidentally is the same weekend the M25 opened some 25 years ago!) and was open to all Volkswagen's. There will be 4 official start locations at the various service stations around the M25: (South Mimms, Lakeside / Thurrock, Clackets Lane and Cobham). How it would work is, the first group would leave the first service station in convoy at a pre designated time, then as they passed the next service station that group would leave their service station and join the back of the convoy, when the convoy passed the third services that group would also join the at the back and so on. After very positive meetings with both the Police and the Highways Agency who both allowed the event to go ahead, John reiterated on the Facebook page that the event was a 50 / 55 mph cruise and not a race. For a small entry fee we could purchase 'Run the Ring' stickers to put on our vehicle not only to let the authorities know that we were part of the cruise but also to promote the event as we cruised around the 117 miles of the London orbital motorway. From the main 'Run the Ring' Facebook page other run the ring pages appeared from all over the South of England from members who were organising their own meeting point on the day, before cruising to their respective M25 services to meet all the other groups before starting the main cruise. Myself and a few friends from Ayleabury joined the 'Hemel and Watford Ringers' page, as Hemel Hempstead is just a few miles down the road from us. I met up with Dave and Angela, and Simon and Amanda for the short 15 minute drive over to Hemel bright and early on the Sunday morning. John had a figure in his mind of possibly raising £10,000 for the Teenage Caner Trust from this event, and as I type this I have just read that John has presented the Caner Trust with a cheque £9,509 but with the gift aid included comes out at a whopping £10,017.43. A huge well done to John, Anita and Vicky (and all the other people who helped to organise the event who I don't know about) and a big special thanks and well done to the hundreds and hundreds of people who participated and donated all that money and who made this memorable event happen. Most of the photo's on my blog are from me, but if you want to see hundreds more photos (and I do mean hundreds!) you can follow this link to the 'VW M25 run the Ring' Facebook photos page.
To see all my other blog entries, go to ‘My Blog Archive’ to the left of this page. Simply click on an arrow for a particular year, then click on an arrow for a particular month, this will then give you a drop down menu for all the blog entries for that month.

My old mate Ben came along with his better
half Jenny, and the kids to take part in the cruise

in their lovely RAT looking 1966 split screen.

I have known Ben for a number of years and he 
has had this bus for as long as I can remember, 
and although the bus has the RAT look going on 
it does go extremely well.

It was time to join the motorway and tag onto
the back of the main convoy. As there were so
many vehicles at our service station getting out
could take a while...

Ben obviously got bored with waiting for the
queue to end so it looks like he saw a gap in
the exiting queue of Volkswagen's and sneaked

his old '66 into a gap.

Leaving the services didn't go exactly to plan
as there were some traffic lights on the exit,
and groups of us kept getting caught at the
red lights. This was my view once I got onto
the M25.

Once on the motorway this was my view, some
of the Volkswagen's taking part decided to drive
faster than the 55 MPH suggested speed. I just
stuck in the nearside lane and cruised along.

This late bay came flying  past me as if I was
standing still. I did enjoy seeing all the various
VW's on the M25 all at the same time. 

A bit of a blurry photo showing numerous VW's
ahead of me as we head clockwise around the

Approaching the Queen Elizabeth II bridge over
the River Thames. The green top tinted wind-
screen I have in my bus gives the sky a nice
shade of blue in this photo, but it was quite
overcast by this point of the cruise.

I followed that gorgeous two tone green split
screen bus as we start to ascend the 200 feet
to the top of the bridge. The QE2 bridge is the
busiest crossing over water in the U.K. with
over 130,000 vehicles using it daily... I bet there
had never been so many VW's though!

At the top of the bridge looking East down the
River Thames and out towards the North Sea.

The M25 is well known for being the biggest
car park in the U.K. as it always seems to be
congested, and sitting stationary in a traffic jam 
is just part of driving on it. Still when you have a 
gorgeous 1964 split screen and a pair of late 
bays to sit behind it doesn't really matter.

I noticed this T5 cruising up the middle lane
taking photos of the Volkswagen's taking part
in the cruise. As they came alongside me, I took
a photo of them,  I bet they didn't expect that !!

A little while later I spotted a blue and white split
screen in my rear view mirror and thought, I know
who that is. It was Dave and Angela, friends of
mine from my hometown that I attended this
great event with. This photo actually came out
better than I hoped, if you click on the photo it
will enlarge it, then if you look in my door mirror
you'll see a perfectly framed early beetle. cool eh?

A fantastic photo posted by Andrew Thompson
looking down on one of the service area's as
the vehicles start to depart. I know John has
contacts with the local flying school and I did
see a helicopter flying around the services. I
did like the 3 T4 / T5's with 'Run' 'The' 'Ring'
decals on their roofs.

A great photo posted by Andy Parrott of 'Fiona' 
my 1969 VW microbus and as we cruised for 
charity around the M25 motorway. Thanks Andy.

A better close up photo, again posted by Andy
Parrott. It looks as though my door sticker has
a tear in it as it was flapping about in the wind.
I do like the reflection in Fiona's front panel of
what looks like a T5 and the motorway ahead.

This cool photo was posted by Anita McAloren
capturing a convoy of T4's / T5's as they made
their way around the charity cruise.

This Volkswagen traffic jam photo was posted
by Carol Dorman. This is the sort of traffic jam
you don't mind sitting in.

Another photo posted by Carol Dorman showing
the diversity of Volkswagen's that took part in
this great charity event.

This photo posted by Clare Simon Carey from
one of the service stations again shows not 
only the diversity of vehicles but also the sheer
number of vehicles.

Another photo posted by Clare Simon Carey
at the service station. This really was a nice
friendly, chilled out gathering of like minded
people, and all for a good cause.

I spotted this photo posted by Ed Bayliss
on the 'M25 VW Run the ring' Facebook
page. This is a cool photo of my bus as
I cruised the nearside lane doing 55 MPH
as most other vehicles overtook me.

Another great photo posted by Ed Bayliss
showing 2 lanes of Volkswagen's cruising
the M25 motorway..

A procession of cool Volkswagen buses leaving
a service area to join the motorway. This great 
photo was posted by Lee Kelf.

Another cool photo posted by Lee Kelf at one
of the services showing almost every parking
space full of Volkswagen's.

And on the other side of the car park, it was just 
the same. Volkswagen's of all varieties who 
were taking part in the charity cruise. Photo 
posted by Lee Kelf

This action photo posted by Neil Cooper is a
cool picture of an old RAT looking split screen
overtaking Neil.

 Neil Cooper also posted this equally cool photo
of a lilac and white split screen as seen out of
his rear window.

This photo again posted by Neil Cooper shows
the charity cruise in full flow. In it's 25 years of
being open, the M25 had never seen so many
Volkswagen's on it in one day.

Another action photo posted by Neil Cooper,
showing the RAT look splitty that just overtook
him,  quickly closing in on a lime green and
white late bay.

One of processions of Volkswagen's either
entering or leaving one of the service area's.
This cool photo posted by Neil Cooper shows
the diversity of vehicles that took part.

The last photo posted by Neil Cooper is
this view of the procession from his door 
as the convoy makes it way around
the London orbital motorway.

We now have a trio of photo's posted by Pete 
Shells, that were taken at one of the service
stations showing the huge turnout of Volkswagen's
that took part in the great event.  

The car park is crammed full of Volkswagen's of
all varieties, both air cooled and water cooled.
(Photo posted by Pete Shells)

A great variety of bay window buses parked up
at the services. (Photo posted by Pete Shells)

Another photo of my 1969 microbus in a cool
procession of other VW's whilst cruising the
M25 motorway. This fantastic photo was posted
 by Rik Wildman.

This photo posted by Sadie Ann Woods shows
nose to tail Volkswagen's as far as the eye can
see on the M25. I wonder what the public thought
of all these Volkswagen's cruising the motorway?

Another photo posted by Sadie Ann Woods. If
your in a Volkswagen driving around the M25
whilst taking part in the VW M25 charity cruise, 
you just have to wave.!

This cool two tone bug looked super low as it
cruised along. 
(Photo posted by Sadie Ann Woods)

The final photo in my 2 part blog review on this 
great event was posted by Steph Hills, again
showing the vast diversity of Volkswagen's that
took part in the cruise. If you missed part one on
this review you can find it in 'My blog archive' at
the top left hand side of this page.

So that was my 2 part review of the M25 VW 
Charity Cruise. Overall a tremendous day out, even 
though driving 117 miles on a motorway doesn't
sound that interesting. The sheer number of
people that attended this event from all over the
south of England was very impressive. The
atmosphere at the services that I joined was great
with everyone chatting and taking photos. It was a
shame the convoy got split up due to the difficulty
of leaving the service area's, but that didn't really
matter as I for one still saw plenty of other VW's
en-route around the 'ring'. I believe this event
will be happening again next year, so I strongly
suggest you join the facebook page here:
(You may need to copy and paste the link.)
to keep up to date with any announcements on
next years 'Run the Ring'. You can also see
hundreds of photos from other members on this 
event from this page. Finally a huge well done
to everyone who got involved in this amazing
event, and who helped to raise over £10,000
($12.400). I for one will be joining the cruise
for 2017.

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