by Paul Gillett

I write this as the temperature has suddenly dropped from the late Summer heatwave to more seasonal norms. As yet, the trees don’t seem to have noticed the change and are still in full leaf. However, it won’t be long before the green turns to autumnal shades, providing an excuse for some country drives. NELE members are lucky to be so close to Epping Forest. Even those living towards the centre of the Capital can get out into the countryside reasonably quickly – as long as you avoid the rush hour, of course!  I have a few favourite Forest routes that I try to drive a few times over three or four weeks in the Autumn, not only for the beautiful views, but also noting how visibility changes as the leaves fall, opening up views through bends which, during the summer months, would be masked by foliage. The Forest’s many car parks also provide opportunities to get out and explore on foot – a bit of exercise never comes amiss – before returning afresh for more driving practice. The roads around the Forest are a fantastic resource for rekindling the joy of driving. I’m sure the Editor would appreciate photos of your own favourite Forest locations so other members have the incentive to go somewhere to brush up their driving skills!

This year’s glorious summer weather gave us several opportunities to promote the Group at public events.  The NELE stand at this year’s Havering show, was a joint display with ELAM, the nearby IAM Bike Group, who provided a tasty bike to attract visitors to the stand. We were also represented at St Peter’s car show and the Capel Manor Classic and Vintage Vehicle Show.  All gave us an opportunity to explain the benefits of the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving Course to members of the public. In several instances, they didn’t need convincing: they’d been thinking of doing the course for a long time and were pleased to have the opportunity to sign up. The Group’s display marquee was put to good use, as were our new IAM RoadSmart  pull-up displays and Group leaflets with IAM RoadSmart branding. However, these would have been pointless without those Group members who staffed the stand.

I’d like to express my thanks to: Peter Rowles, Margaret Houlihan, John Saffer, Eric Saunderson, John Harrison, and Charlie McGinchey, plus Gary Allworthy, the ELAM Chair. All were great ambassadors for IAM RoadSmart – perhaps others might care to join them for any such events in 2017 as part of a NELE Display Team!

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