In This Issue:



A warm welcome to new group member:

  William Griffin (C) 

Articles needed

If you have interesting snippets or would like to write a short article for this newsletter then please let us know. 

All contributions welcome.

Wanted: Group Ride Leaders 

Group rides are back and we need volunteer Ride Leaders - No experience required, full training given.


Call Stephen Wilkinson-Carr on 07976 644485 for more details.



February 2022
Chair's Introduction
It was recently my great privilege and pleasure to award, on behalf of the Committee, an Honorary Life Membership to long-standing member Graham Beale. Find out more about him and his driving history below.
Our RoSPA re-accreditation submission was successful and we are fully accredited for the next three years. We could not have achieved that without our volunteers giving their time and effort to help achieve the Group’s aims and objectives. Thank you all.
More good news - we have a new Newsletter co-Editor, Rob Newman, and would gladly welcome a third.  Please contribute news snippets, interesting facts, puzzles and anything else you think might interest members. Without such articles, long or short, the Newsletter will flounder. Please help.
Both Approved and Advanced Tutor training events begin this month. If you’d like to become a Tutor, especially if you’re a car Advanced Driver, then please let us know as soon as possible. The training of two new Car Advanced Tutors has begun so we should soon be able to run our own training and re-accreditation activities.
We are not running other face to face events at present and your Committee is reviewing the Covid-19 situation on an ongoing basis and will keep you informed.
As a young boy I used to long for the Winter snow so I could put my sledge to good use on the slopes of the Lincolnshire Wolds. Sadly this year’s Winter so far has been too mild for that and my sledge remains buried in the attic. The upside though was that our first Group Motorcycle Ride of the year could go ahead safely. Twelve of us rode the long way to the Elan Valley Visitor Centre – see article below.

I’m confident that 2022 is going to be a much better year than 2021 for all of us.

Please stay safe and I hope to meet you all sometime soon.


Tutor Training

Tutor training for existing and new car and motorcycle Approved Tutors will take place in Spring 2022 beginning with the theory day on Sunday 20 February 2022.

The practical session for Motorcycle Tutors will be all day on Saturday 19 March 2022.

The practical sessions for Car Tutors will be arranged between the individual and one of the four Advanced Tutor Trainers from Wilts RoADAR who are helping us to accredit existing and new Car Tutors.

The training will be headed up by Chief Instructor: Motorycle – Tony Dix with assistance from Geoff Brown, Paul Smith and Dave Venman (Wilts RoADAR's Car Training Officer).

We need more Tutors!

If you would like to train as an Approved Tutor, especially if you're a Car Advanced Driver with a Gold or Silver pass, then please contact Tony Dix at 

New Honorary Life Member - Graham Beale
Born and raised in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, Graham’s first driving job was a 10-month spell as a van driver delivering vegetables to schools and business across three counties. He then chased and got a job as a trainee Electrical Engineer with Southern Electric and for his first task was given a shovel to dig test pits. Over the next 2 years he learnt all the electrical engineering trades: fitter, linesman, faults & maintenance and, having a background as a ‘free climber’, chose to specialise as an Overhead Linesman.

Graham’s first car was a gun metal grey Morris 1000 with permanently stuck trafficators and self-indicating front wings!

15 minutes of fame
In the late 1970s Graham was a Marshal at the Arkell Rally – now called the Lombard RAC Rally - in Cirencester where he was filmed by the Top Gear programme crew running to assist British Rally Driver Tony Pond who’d lost a half-shaft from his car.  He was also a Marshal at Birmingham’s Sutton Park Rally, where there were two water splashes, and vividly remembers every Vauxhall Astra Rally Car failing to get past the second splash after scooping water into its air intake and breaking down. 
Better Driving Course
In 1981 while visiting Deer Park, Cirencester Graham saw the police running Better Driving courses and signed up almost immediately. After five weeks theory training, taught by Tony Whitehouse, he passed his assessment drive. Next Graham joined the IAM and qualified as an Observer (Tutor) in 1982.

A few years later Chris Ellis, former RoSPA examiner, took over the Better Driving courses from the police - at the time Glos RoADAR was one of the only RoADAR groups allowed to run an in-house Diploma course - and ‘nagged’ Graham to join RoSPA and take the advanced test, which he did successfully.

RoSPA Diploma
Chris then invited Graham to attend the Diploma course which then comprised: 6 weeks of theory sessions, Highway Code exam: 100 questions and Roadcraft exam: 100 questions. Graham passed with flying colours achieving over 75% on each exam (this was in the mid 1980s). He was coached in advanced driving over a few months and, after all that hard work, was awarded the RoSPA Car Diploma qualification which he rates as his proudest and most memorable moment.

Graham then used his new-found knowledge to become a Better Driver Course Assessor and conducted numerous observed, stooge and demonstration drives while honing his craft.

Glos RoADAR Chairman / Committee Member
In the early 1990s Graham was Glos RoADAR Chair for 6 years, as well as a stint as a general committee member, and was a RoSPA Marshal for the Driver of the Year national event. He also helped to train many BT staff in advanced driving (an initiative championed and led by Margaret Malcolm).

Coach / Tutor
As a Tutor Graham has enjoyed meeting a “smashing and lovely class of people” with whom he’s had a laugh and a joke while coaching / tutoring up to 100 of them to test standard. He has a reputation as real gentleman who is a caring Tutor able to get almost any associate through the advanced test (if that’s their aim) and who offers the following top tips:

  • Potential member – Ask for a sit-in to see that advanced driving’s not something that’s mystic in any way.
  • Associate member – The Tutor and the Associate are a team and there’s no ‘I’ in team.
  • Car Tutor – Be patient with candidates and don’t overload them or put them under pressure. It’s your life in their hands. Encourage them – however long it takes.
  • Committee – Don’t volunteer!
Honorary Life Membership
During Graham’s nearly 40-years as a Senior Advanced Tutor he has selflessly given his time, knowledge and experience, in many roles and guises, to improve road safety, educate and coach many group members in advanced driving.  

The Committee has unanimously elected Graham as an Honorary Life Member, an honour that recognises the decades-long loyalty, dedication and commitment demonstrated towards members, programmes, activities and ideals of the Gloucestershire Group of RoSPA Advanced Drivers And Riders.

Thank you from us all.

Graham Beale receiving his Honorary Membership
certificate from the Chair, Stephen Wilkinson-Carr.

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New RoADAR Manager

Meet Andy Nixon, the new RoADAR Manager 
I always had a massive interest in cars and bikes from an early age as my father was a traffic officer and then later an Inspector in the driving school within West Midlands Police. I think it was inevitable that I was going to join the Police as I wanted to become a Police biker. I took my initial civvy bike and car test in 1977. I was employed by West Midlands Police as a cadet from 1978 until April 1980 when I joined the regulars. 
After 3 years in the job, I fulfilled my ambition and went on to become a traffic biker getting my advanced grade on bikes first and then cars. I was predominantly working on Eastern traffic covering Solihull, Coventry and other districts in the area, and then just covering the Metropolitan Borough of Solihull. I also qualified as a VIP motorcyclist.
I was forced into retirement in 2011 due to cuts. I didn't want to retire but having done so I would highly recommend it! I have never been gainfully employed in full time employment since, although I joined RoSPA as an examiner in 2013, went onto become Regional Senior Examiner in 2014 and then Chief examiner in 2015. I held this position for 6 months, leaving due to personal reasons. 
In 2021 Amy Brant the old RoADAR manager resigned from RoSPA for pastures new and I was asked if I would assist RoADAR covering 2 days per week to help out the team with membership, policy and development. Of course, I was more than happy to assist where necessary. I took on this position from the 1st of September 2021. Being very fortunate I can work any 2 days per week so cannot say for definite when I will be in the office, unless it is for a pre-arranged meeting etc. 
Living in the Solihull area means I am relatively local to head office, about 12 miles away. I would normally travel there as it is Birmingham on my Triumph Explorer XRX. I also use this bike for training courses and testing. I have a Volvo V60 and an MX5 which I use on the rare occasions as I'm usually on the bike. 
When not working I can usually be found on my narrow boat Harmony or at my shack in Devon. 
If anyone has any questions re RoADAR they can of course always e mail in the first instance, but I would rather talk directly either in person or over the phone as I think you can say so much more in a few minutes rather than by e mail tennis over a period of days. To be honest I'm a little old fashioned and don't really do all this new-fangled social media stuff, I'm not even on Facebook thank God! 
I would like to take this opportunity in wishing all your readers well and to personally thank them for everything they do to help make our roads safer. 
Andy Nixon: 07880 785056 / 0121 248 2099 / 

RoSPA Re-accreditation

Our renewal application for Gloucestershire Drivers & Riders has passed the RoSPA group accreditation scheme and we are now RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders Accredited for the next three years.

Message from Tracey Rudge, RoSPA Operations Director:

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank you and the group for your work in continuing to improve road safety by helping members of the public to improve and maintain their driving and riding abilities. We look forward to continuing to work with you over the coming years."

Many thanks to all members for giving up your valuable time to help the group succeed. Particular thanks to our Treasurer, Geoff Brown, for his hard work on the re-accreditation application. 
Group Motorcycle Ride to Elan Valley
This was the first group ride of 2022 and twelve of us headed for the Elan Valley Visitor Centre.

It was a tad chilly first thing at 5C although many riders had heated grips and gear to keep them toasty.

The Elan Valley is an amazingly picturesque spot and some of the surrounding roads are great to ride / drive. It's definitely worth a day trip whether by bike or car.

We stopped for regular breaks where we could get hot drinks and snacks to keep us going. 

One stop was at the Abergavenny Bus Station, a favourite riders' meet point.

The Centre was quite deserted, not unexpected on such a cold Winter's day I suppose, and was open for take-out hot drinks and snacks. 

Some admirable sculptures near the Centre.

The Ride Leader, Stephen Wilkinson-Carr, did a recce of the route and planned stops and visited the previous Sunday when the dam was in full flow and looking quite majestic. 
 Click on the photo below to see the dam in full flow.

Sadly the dam was dry when the group ride arrived.

It was really good to get out and about for the day although we all subsequently had to spend quite some time primping and preening our filthy bikes!


Our next ride is on Sun 27 February and we're heading for the Apache Café at The Army Flying Museum, Middle Wallop, Hampshire.
Thanks to Steve Kendall for the additional photos.
Top Ten Car Shows in 2022

If you're keen to attend a quality car show or two this year then here's a handy listing of the top ten. Just click on the picture above to see what's on offer.

The Goodwood Festical of Speed in June looks like it could be a superb event. 
Did You Know?

The Secret Button on Pedestrian Crossings 
Did you know that every Pelican Crossing in the UK hides one of the world's most brilliant secrets that for some people is vital for their safety? 
Next time you are stood waiting for a green man, if you feel underneath the main button you will find a rotating cone tactile device designed to assist those who are visually impaired or blind cross the road. 
Here’s a 78-second video by Sam Little, who’s registered blind, letting you into the secret: 
And an 85-second version by Tom Scott:
Who knew?

Highway Code Changes

The Highway Code was ratified and published online on 29 January 2022. It is unlikely to be available in print until April 2022 at the earliest.

The updated online version is available here

The differences between the current and new Highway Code are highlighted here.

One interesting addition, the hierarchy of road users, has recently been shown on various social media sites:


The five new rules most likely to catch people out:
 (click on picture below for more details). 
  1. Drivers no longer have priority at junctions
  2. All traffic must stop for pedestrians waiting at crossings
  3. Cyclists can ride wherever they feel most visible
  4. Drivers to treat cyclists like they are another vehicle
  5. Use of handheld mobiles and devices is banned, except in an emergency

Recommended Books (Clickable)

The Committee
Chair - Stephen Wilkinson-Carr

Secretary - Rebekah Yarranton

Treasurer - Geoff Brown

Membership Secretary - Mike Ibbitson

Acting Car Coordinator - Stephen Wilkinson-Carr

Motorcycle Coordinator - Paul Smith

WebMaster - Phil Wesley

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Membership Secretary: Mike Ibbitson
Secretary: Rebekah Yarranton