Thousands turn out to Pride of Longbridge rally

By Carl Jackson Thursday 18 April 2013 Updated: 19/04 12:43

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MORE than 1,800 cars descended on Cofton Park last Saturday (April13) for the 2013 Pride of Longbridge rally.

It marked the largest attendance for the annual event, nearly quadrupling the amount of vehicles present at the first rally eight years ago.

The Pride of Longbridge was born out of a desire to celebrate the car manufacturing history of the area in the wake of the collapse of MG Rover in 2005 which saw more than 6,000 lose their jobs.

Now the rally provides the perfect opportunity for former workers to meet up on a yearly basis to talk about their times at the factory and share their enthusiasm for Rover and Austin motor vehicles.

Andy Cartwright, a former Rover worker and husband of Gemma Cartwright who organises the Pride of Longbridge, said people visited for all over Europe on Saturday, including motorists from Germany, Belgium and Holland.

"People love the Cofton Park rally more than others because they can say 'my car was made over the road'.

"I met a lot of men and women I hadn't seen since the factory closed down, that's what its about, it brings the community together."

Mr Cartwright is now a Birmingham City Councillor after working in the paint shop at the factory for 17 years.

He said the area had an exciting future, but it was important the manufacturing legacy of Longbridge be recognised and it was important MG was still making cars in the area.

"Its historic to people. I drive past everyday and it does sadden me and brings back a lot of memories.

"When I left school there were two places to work Cadbury's and Rover. It was a big lifeline.

"It gave a lot of people opportunities they would not have had today. We were like one big family.

"It was great to have MG involved in the rally this year. We are still proud there is a still a little bit of car manufacturing here."

Mr Cartwright added this year's Pride of Longbridge was such a success many were calling for it to be expanded to a two day event for the tenth anniversary in 2015.

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