Sammy Miller’s 90th Birthday Party—12th November 2023
I was privileged recently to receive an invitation to Sammy Millers 90th Birthday party and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the museum. Over the last 4 years we have established a good relationship with Sammy and the museum staff—especially Viv who used to be Sammy’s PA and Sharon Bumpsteed the Museum Manager/Events organiser.
It was supposed to be a surprise party so we were asked not to breathe a word to anyone. However, it seems that Sammy got wind of it and so it wasn’t quite the surprise it was supposed to be.
We all gathered in the museum and had some drinks while we waited for the birthday boy. Sammy then made his entrance in true Sammy style—racing up and down the drive and then roaring straight into the museum on a Gilera V4. A sight to behold. Sharon gathered everyone together in the racing hall and outlined how the day was going to work. We then waited for 11am and observed the 2-minute silence before continuing.
There then followed a summary of Sammy’s career and achievements (1400 trophies) by Alan Cathcart, an amusing resume which drew quite a few laughs. Rosemary, Sammy’s wife then said a few words which was followed by Sammy deciding he was going to start his speech early.
We then had a break for a light lunch and much chat with the other guests, I managed to have a chat with the Head Judge of the Stafford Bike show & other Morton’s shows and picked his brains about classic classes and classic shows in general, A very interesting man. Other guests included Don Rickman, Alan Cathcart (compere}, Brian Crichton, Allan Millyard, Gordon Blakeway/Ron Langston—Sammy Miller’s Ariel trials team and many journalists and friends from the world of motorcycling.
After this we reconvened in the museum to cut the cake. Sammy jumped onto one of the museum bikes on a plinth to continue his speech in true Sammy style—with humour & a few stories. There was lots of banter from his contemporaries in the crowd.
We eventually got round to cutting the cake and gave Sammy a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday, the warmth and regard felt by those present for Sammy was evident. And I do think he actually enjoyed the event.
All in all, a great celebration of an amazing life being lived to the max by an incredible character. As Lord Montagu said—’Sammy is a living legend’, I couldn’t agree more.
I would like to add that a card was given to Sammy on behalf of the HOC GB signed by its Classic Secs & Tony as past Classic Sec.