THE SOUTH'S BEST 2CV OWNERS CLUB
If you own a 2CV then your understand the interest that these lovely little cars attract. People stare in amazement, children point and laugh, people come up to you in car-parks and say "I use to have one of those, it was fantastic" to which I always reply "well it's never too late to get another". Once upon a time 2CVs were not given the same admiration that they enjoy these days, as until a few years ago they were just another car on the road, albeit a slightly odd one, and in many cases the people who drive them too! But like many other classic cars, over time 2CVs and their owners have started to band together and form not only the national owners club 2CVGB but a whole range of local enthusiast's clubs throughout the country, and even across the world.
The best of these clubs is of course The Pompey Puddleducks who were first recognized by 2CVGB back in 1990 by our founding member Ann-Marie who, living in Portsmouth at the time, decided she enjoyed attending the nearest club at that time 'Les Fils de Vitesse' that she would start a new club of her own, and so the Puddleducks were born.
Here are a few words from Ann-Marie
I grew up as the younger daughter of a Citroën fan and my Dad had high hopes that when I started driving I would follow in my Dyane-owning sister’s footsteps and drive an ‘A’ series. It was the late '80s and I had other ideas: the all new Peugeot 205 was my dream car!
A few years, a Peugeot 104 and a beaten up old Escort later, MOT time came up again, the Escort was beyond economical repair and it was time for a new car. My sister, Karen, had traded in her Dyane for a 2CV - one trip out in it and I was smitten. I also needed a loan from Dad and the plan to buy an ‘A’ series held favour. I bought my first 2CV, a Red Special, in January 1990, joined 2CVGB and joined Les Fils de Vitesse, Karen’s local group and the closest group to Portsmouth. My first event was Kite Flying in High Wycombe and a barbecue, it was great.
I really enjoyed the social side of the club and was keen to set up a local group in Portsmouth and save the hour journey to the Monday night socials. There were lots of ‘A’ series about at the time so I handed out loads of flyposters and put an advert in the local paper asking people to join me, I also wrote to 2CVGB asking for recognition and Pompey Puddleducks were officially recognized at the committee meeting on Sunday 20th May 1990, although it was incorrectly minuted that we were to be called the ‘Poppie Puddles’!
Unfortunately only one person made contact, Alison, and so she is the Puddleducks longest standing member! It was really frustrating as the summer was passing by and we still didn’t have a club to speak of. My partner, Phil, was really supportive but we weren’t really getting anywhere and he suggested we give up but I was determined. I wrote a letter to 2CVGB News asking for local 2CVGB members to get in touch and a few did, including Peter & Gillian.
We finally had a couple of names and decided to get something going. We arranged to meet up at the Churchillian on Portsdown Hill in either October or November. I was really nervous but ever so excited at the same time. I remember that Alison and Peter & Gillian were at the first meeting along with a couple of others. We decided to have regular meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at the Churchillian and finally made it into the 2CVGB club listings on the back page of the magazine in December 1990. We had a logo competition and a vote among the members for the best, Phil’s cartoon design was chosen and was soon to be seen on club stickers, ‘t’ shirts and mugs.
At the beginning of 1991 we had our first event, a treasure hunt, I rallied round the family and local groups to join us and the local paper came along for a photo shoot, and as you can see from the picture we all had a great time. This was a real boost for us and the club began to grow with new members, including Elaine and her young family, having seen the article in the paper and also Denzil and Nancy Bone who had been members of 2CVGB for years and joined us when they moved down from Yorkshire.
Front row Carole & Peter Chitty (Mum & Dad) in their Lomax, 2nd row L-R Karen & Nick Curthew-Sanders (Sister), Me & Phill with friend Phil in the back, 3rd row L-R Trevor, Nikki & Russell Higgs (LFdV), unknown I'm afraid, Gillian & Sonia, back row Tony White (LFdV)).
The club continued to meet twice a month, once for a ‘social’ meeting at the Churchillian and once for an event. We held camps, duck races, treasure hunts, convoys, barbecues and games nights. As the club grew we became too big to just take pot luck on a table being free in the bar and the landlord suggested we use the function room upstairs for our meetings.
I remember the first camp was at ‘Tom’s Field’ Campsite near Swanage in June 1993. Most members had not done much camping so there was a general share around of tents and camping equipment. Unluckily for us the heavens opened on the Friday afternoon just as most people arrived and started to set their tents up. Fran & Sean had a tarpaulin over theirs and Elaine moved into Bee & Bills spare, as the one she had borrowed was more like a sieve than a tent. But in true 2CV spirit we all pulled together and carried on. We had made spaghetti Bolognese for everyone and the rain didn’t last very long. The rest of the weekend was glorious, we had a convoy to Abbotsbury and a ride on a steam train.
For me personally the Puddleducks is very important. I met a lot of great people and it was a constant supply of friendship and support throughout my time in Portsmouth. I also made close and long lasting friendships that I still enjoy.
I am still an active 2CVGB member and run my local group The Middle East Nomads in South Lincolnshire with my husband Dave, who I met through the 2CV club. I believe Pompey Puddleducks is one of the best, if not the best local group, thanks to its brilliant membership, and it has a very special place in my heart.
Now a few words from Brian and Netty
The convoy to Abbotsbury was at the second camp later that year when we went to Moonfleet. The convoy at Swanage for those that wanted to go was to Putlake Farm where we had the pleasure of milking Daisy. Not everyone went as there was a lot to see in Swanage and we had been allowed access to the engine sheds (where Sean went into raptures).
Other notable events that weekend were Elaine trying to rescue her cutlery from the drainage system of Tom’s Field, and wondering why she had a captive audience (yes, Netty has still got the photos) and the antics of members with limited camping experience trying to do a King Canute repelling the influx of water into their tent.
Brian and Netty
And finally a few words from one of those early members, Elaine Pink
It all started 16 years ago when I went out and bought a car that I had always wanted... a Citroën 2CV. She was bright red and I named her Ellie. I hadn't had Ellie long when a friend told me they had seen an advert in the local paper advertising for new members for a 2CV club that had just started up. They were called the Pompey PuddleDucks and they met at the Churchcillian on top of Portsdown Hill once a month. There was a contact number which I rang straight away, Ann-Marie our founder answered and gave me all the information that I needed to join the club.
I turned up at my first meeting unsure of what to expect. Sitting in the corner of the pub were Peter, Gillian, Gillian's friend Sonia, Alison and Ann-Marie. We had a small raffle in which I won a diary (for the previous year?). I went away from my first meeting feeling like I had made friends for life and this was just after one meeting, and I can now say that I had.
Little did I know then that it would become a HUGE part of my life and that I would still be a member 16 years later, I would make many new friends and travel all over the place on many 2CV adventures!!!!!!
Now you've heard some of our great history why not become part of the club's future and join today?