The Military Lightweight Club evolved from the militarylightweight.co.uk website, created by Val I’Anson and Gordon Bennett. Both Val and Gordon are enthusiastic Lightweight owners and have been for many years.
The website was originally to be used as a place to record Val’s and Gordon’s vehicles and displays. Following the purchase of a pair of Cypriot National Guard recoilless rifle gunships in 2008, it was further developed to record the progress of the restoration of these rare vehicles.
As with all projects, it wasn’t until the show season had finished in September 2009, a year and a half later that the pair finally sat down to plan the creation of the website. As the site was being developed, there was a steady flow of fellow Lightweight and military vehicle enthusiasts asking if their projects and pictures could also be added to the site. Seeing an opportunity to open up the site to other contributors, the website was expanded to include a forum, a wiki, a gallery and an events section, as well as the projects area where the vehicles are featured.
The finished website was finally launched in March 2010 and now receives in excess of 10,000 visits every month. The forum, has also become very active, with over 700 members from all over the world, and has become a great place to share information, experiences, ideas and many humorous stories. Members use the forum to document progress on their projects, discuss and resolve problems, source spares and organise and plan events.
Once the forum had become established, several of the regular members began lobbying Val and Gordon to form a club to display their vehicles together as a group at shows and events as there wasn’t anywhere out there that catered for all of their needs. The new club would provide a place where owners and enthusiasts of the marque could meet up and show off their vehicles and display their collections of memorabilia, as when used in service.
After a group discussion at the LRO show at Peterborough in 2010, we decided that the time was right to form our own club ready for the 2011 show season. With a great deal of enthusiasm and support from many of the forum members, the decision was made and the Military Lightweight Club was born.
At our very first outing at the LRO Spring Adventure, at Driffield, we won three trophies including Best Club Stand and Best Vehicle in Show.