About the Dorset Group
The Dorset Group of the Austin A30/A35 Club exists to help like-minded owners and enthusiasts to enjoy their Austins.
A very warm welcome to a website dedicated to all things Austin A30 and A35 related, in and around the Dorset area. Vehicles, restorations and of course, the Group Members. Living in the extreme Southwest of Dorset, I attend quite a lot of the Somerset Group events as well. The website has just entered its sixth year of existence and has proved to be a very popular addition to the Group. Whatever the reason you are here I hope you enjoy the site and please tell your friends and family. I couldn't have put anything like this together without the help of Rob Stanley and Kim Henson who have both been a great support throughout. Also, thank you to Henk Keulemans for allowing me to use a lot of his photographs in the Archive sections. I will try and keep the website as up to date as possible, so please keep checking back for news, events and of course updated Archives. For everyone who has access to Facebook, Rob Stanley has been very busy uploading over 2000 photographs, postcards and archives featuring Austins to the Dorset Group pages.
Above: Alan and Barbara Hilling. Two of the founding members of the Dorset Group. They both left the Austin scene for a while. But are both back and keen committee members.
The Dorset Group is a subgroup of the National Austin A30 & A35 Owners Club. It was formed in 1975 by Alan and Barbara Hilling along with a few others who loved to drive, restore, and generally enjoy their baby Austins. Alan and Barbara guided the Group through to 1980, when Fred Symns took the helm. In 1984, Kim Henson took over the role. But, with only about three people interested in the Group it became very close to folding. Kim called an emergency meeting in October 1984, and it was decided to keep it going, and the membership numbers slowly climbed.
Since then, the group has grown from strength to strength and is now recognised as one of the largest and most active area groups in the United Kingdom. We have, in the region of 40 members travelling from all over the county and beyond. Long-term members such as Dave and Elaine Mallet, Ian and Shelagh Aggas and Kim and Elaine Henson have stayed with the group throughout the years, whilst many others have come and gone. Rob Stanley left the Austin scene in around 2002, due to his love of his Ford Classic, but is now back. Allan and Barbara Hilling left the group
Above:Fred Symns' liveried A35 van, at start of Dorset Group Run c. 1986
for a while. But they have since returned and are both active committee members once again. Kim finally retired from his post as Chairman in 2014 after 30 years' service and Keith Bennett held the post for a couple of years. In 2016 Rob Stanley was somehow voted into the post. At the A.G.M. in 2023, Rob stood down as Chairman and Kim is back guiding us into a new and exciting future. We hold various group events throughout the year including quiz nights, an auction night, where various spare parts and bargains can often be found, cars in the field and our ever-popular Purbeck Road Run. Taking in some of the spectacular views in and around the Purbeck hills, Corfe Castle, Wareham, and Swanage with the traditional pub ending.
Above: Kim Henson at the 2016 Purbeck Run chatting with long standing members Dave and Elaine Mallet
Above: Christine and Keith Bennett at the Wareham International Rally. Note that Christine is trying to look busy writing with a tent peg.....
Below: Rob Stanley (right) With Derek Lewis also at the Wareham Rally
August 2021 saw a new event in the Group calendar. I had arranged for some of the Group to meet up in Dorchester and give them a chance to drive around some of West Dorset and South Somerset, meeting up with a few members from the Southwest Group into the bargain. It's hoped that this will become a regular occurrence. We also have a newsletter that is produced by Rob Stanley and me, 6 times a year. We meet on the 3rd Tuesday (possibly changing to the 3rd Wednesday) of January, March, May, September, and November. If you would like to join us at any of our meets then please contact our chairman, Kim Henson, via the contact us button at the top of the page. We would love to see you there. If you have anything that you would like to see added to the website, archives, restoration projects, for sale, wanted etc. Then please get in touch.