The Doghouse Women’s Motor Racing Associates Club
The World’s longest-standing club for ladies in motor racing
Patron: Ms Jodie Kidd, President: Mrs Shirley Procter
Chairwoman: Mrs Elizabeth Walkinshaw
Vice-Chair: Mrs Caroline Hobbs
Treasurer: Mrs Fran Powell
Membership Secretary: Mrs Kate Cottingham
‘Doghouse’ ladies raised a glass at Brooklands on Saturday 25 February in fond memory of Patty McLaren-Brickett; a fitting tribute to a true lady of motorsport.
Amanda McLaren and long-time members of McLaren Racing Ltd joined President Shirley Procter, members and friends of the Women’s Motor Racing Associates Club (WMRAC) – ‘The Doghouse’ – for luncheon and a glass or two, with many a story told of the good old days of motorsport.
WMRAC Chairwoman Elizabeth Walkinshaw welcomed Amanda McLaren and her husband, Stephen Donnell, our President Shirley Procter and her husband, Peter. “It is wonderful to see so many of Patty’s friends and a great turnout of our members alongside those from McLaren. It is so lovely to have the chance to celebrate the life of the late Patty McLaren-Brickett .”
Amanda McLaren said: “The Doghouse was always very special to my mother, Patty McLaren-Brickett. As a founding member, Chairman, then Vice-President and Patron, she remained a loyal supporter of the club and its aims and objectives over the years. No better way, then, to celebrate her life, a year after her passing, with a luncheon attended by Doghouse members, their partners, and her closest friends.
“The event was organised by WMRAC Chairwoman Elizabeth Walkinshaw and Media Advisor Georgie Shaw, and was a true celebration of my mother’s life. We began with a group photograph around the beautiful McLaren Automotive 570S and ended with some wonderful stories of her adventures and escapades with my father, Bruce.
“My mother would have revelled in an event that combined her three great loves; good friends, some wine, and all things McLaren. A truly fitting and memorable occasion in memory of a wonderful lady.”
This unique club, universally known as ‘The Doghouse Owners’ Club’ was founded on 7 February 1962 by a group of highly-influential ladies, including: founding Vice-President Patty McLaren-Brickett. Under the chairmanship of Sheila Van Damm, the committee comprised Mrs Colin Chapman, Mrs John Cooper, Mrs Gregor Grant, Mrs Graham Hill and Mrs John Webb. The acting secretary was Miss Peggy Sandberg (Mrs Peggy Rowe).
As the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) is the ‘Who’s Who’ of British Motorsport, so is the Doghouse Club the equivalent on the other side of the gender fence, with so many famous names still involved and with many so well connected within motorsport circles.
Doghouse members have shared marvellous times over the years, fundraising for great causes, with social get-togethers and events. Many former Doghouse cabaret stars were able to recount how much fun was had at the Charity Fundraising Balls, where the cabarets were absolute show-stoppers and how they certainly were the event on the social calendar!
WMRAC President Shirley Procter said: “We’ve shared such marvellous times together over the years” and went on to share a very moving and amusing story of fun-loving times spent with Bruce and Patty McLaren.
Mary Fletcher recounted a story by former BRM and Williams Grand Prix driver, Vice President of the BRDC and Club International des Anciens Pilotes de Grand Prix, Howden Ganley, of how privileged he was to have known Patty for many years.
Howden said” “I owe a great debt to the McLaren’s; Bruce got me into Formula One and Patty found me the perfect wife. Patty was a wonderful person and I am happy to see that her memory lives on, thanks to her beloved Doghouse Club.”
The memorial luncheon raised a total of £2,100.00 for this year’s WMRAC Official Charity Partner, Hope for Tomorrow http://www.hopefortomorrow.org.uk.
Hope for Tomorrow was founded by Christine Mills in December 2003′ after she lost her husband David to cancer. David was a key figure in the career of many legendary drivers as a business manager, mentor and friend.
The Charity provides Mobile chemotherapy units which can travel five days a week throughout their counties of operation, to five locations, and have the capacity to treat between 18 to 20 patients a day. The Charity also provides the Trusts with a Nurses Support Vehicle, which allows the nursing team to travel to and from the daily treatment location of the Unit, along with any additional equipment that is required.
Patrons of Hope For Tomorrow include: Sir Stirling Moss, OBE FIE and Lady Susie Moss; Lady MacLaurin; Ross Brawn; Dr David English, CBE MBE; Derek Bell, MBE; Geoffrey Bray; Martin Brundle and Gloria Hunniford.
Peta Oatley, whose husband Neil, is the Design and Development Director at McLaren Technology Group, read out a very fitting message from Georgie Shaw.
Georgie Shaw said: “From the moment Sylvia Davis introduced me to Patty 30 years ago, we got on like a ‘house on fire’. We chatted forever, in between a glass of wine or three. It was the beginning of a long and wonderful friendship.”
As luncheon concluded with a final toast to Patty, with champagne provided by Georgie Shaw, the Doghouse ladies reluctantly departed with smiles and fond memories of the good old days.
Photo credit: Tony Fletcher.