About the HCI
A Brief History of the Early Days
(written 17 May 2005 by the late Tom Laming, former President of the HCI)
During the 1980s John Lunt was the managing director of Madisons (now known as Hymer UK.). He used to run rallies for Hymer owners, usually at trade shows but occasionally at or near the Hymer showrooms. There were usually two of these rallies, one in the spring in order to show the new models, the other for the Blackpool lights in the Autumn. Madisons had a second hand double-decker bus, called Boris, which was used to take members through the Blackpool lights, and also to provide shelter at the outdoor shows in inclement weather.
John Lunt wanted to run more rallies and especially to the Continent, but the task and expense was beyond him. By this time he had become very friendly with one of his customers, The late Jim Tomlinson, and between them they hatched up the idea of forming another Club which would be independent of Madisons, and could run overseas rallies. Jim Tomlinson was a very experienced caravanner and rallier so his expertise in organising rallies was very useful. Thus was born HCI and Jim Tomlinson became its first and founder President.
Jim knew a few people with Hymers and formed a committee. This caretaker committee ran the Club until the official inaugural meeting which was held in the Forest of Dean. When it came to forming a new committee there was silence from the floor because nobody knew anyone else. I then made a suggestion that we elect the existing committee en bloc, as they had so far done a good job and by the next AGM we would be in a better position to make a worthwhile judgement. This was carried unanimously. Following this meeting I was co-opted on to the committee and have served on it ever since.
I purchased my first Hymer from Madisons in 1990, and was persuaded to attend my first rally at Stoneleigh that same year. This was my first meeting with Jim Tomlinson and he was in the process of getting names for a proposed tour of Norway, going right up to the North Cape. This was a trip I had always wanted to do so I joined immediately, with a membership number of 77.
Jim had contacts with Hymer owners in Norway, including a Hymer Dealer. We were met when we got off the boat and escorted all the way. It turned out to be a magnificent trip, crossing the arctic circle, and an excursion to the Lofoten Islands on midsummer day to witness the midnight sun, a truly remarkable experience. Various members of the Norwegian Hymer Club joined us at various points en route and at any one time there were anywhere between 18 and 28 Hymers in the convoy. We appeared on Norwegian TV and local radio stations, and were fêted everywhere we went. Unfortunately there was a downside to this as we caused a lot of disturbance to traffic, holding up columns of cars on the narrow roads. It put me off travelling in convoy, and I now stipulate that no more than three units should travel together at any one time. We have to remember that there are other road users about and we should never be a nuisance to other people.
After a couple of years Jim decided we should raise some money to provide our secretary with something better than a typewriter with many carbon copies. At a committee meeting Jim suggested that we introduce a ‘Life Membership’ for say £50 or £100. This was discussed and it was agreed that it could produce a number of problems. It was then that I suggested the three year membership, which was agreed and has been very popular ever since. The first batch of three years memberships brought in enough money to purchase a word processor and a photo copier and since that time we have not looked back.
Some years ago we had a letter from Hymer in Germany saying we could not use their name as they may want to use that name at some time in the future. We sought legal advice and were told that as we were not trading under the name there was nothing they could do to stop us. In addition to this we were advised to put ‘Established 1990’ after the name so that should Hymer decide to launch another Club using the same name this would establish that we were the first.
The clubs objectives remain the same today as they did back in 1990, to provide an opportunity for members to meet up explore new places, meet new and old friends and share good times together. The HCI is a very friendly club with a good cross section of people, all of whom enjoy meeting to share the common interests of motorhoming and Hymers in particular. The Club has gone from strength to strength over the years, with many rallies organised at home and on the Continent.
We hold Exemption Certificates from Natural England, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Government which enable us to hold rallies away from licensed campsites in the UK. Rallies are organised by members for members and there is a varied programme of events in different parts of the UK right throughout the year. Additionally we organise rallies at most of the large motorhome shows around the country.
We also venture further a field with rallies frequently held in Europe. Spain, Germany, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Scandinavia, Croatia, Slovenia and many areas of France have been recent destinations for the club.
In addition to the rallies mentioned above, we hold our Annual Dinner Dance rally each Spring, this rally also plays host to our AGM. 2020 will mark the Club’s 30th Anniversary, a significant milestone.
Members are kept a breast of the latest going on’s at the club via a regular newsletter which gives up to date information about the club’s events programme and activities. The Club also has an online Members-Only Forum which is a great place for exchanging ideas and sharing hints or tips. Or just discussing anything Hymer related.
Non members can apply for HCI membership here