Friday, July 29, 2016


Over my years as a PR Director in the car biz, I've met my fair share of celebrities , mostly because I had something they wanted when they travelled Down Under - a free loan car, usually for an indeterminate period!

Among the people we loaned cars to were the Two Ronnies, English cricket captain Geoff Boycott, Race driver David Hobbs, Michael Parkinson, and many others over 14 years. We always managed a sort of 'quid pro quo' from the celebs, but just getting to know them was worth it!

Probably the most fun was Spike Milligan, the craziest member of the British comedy trio, The Goons.
The Goons
Spike Milligan, Peter Sellars, Harry Secombe

Spike's mother lived in a small hamlet about two hours drive north of Sydney, called Woy Woy. When he came to Australia we often loaned him a car to pay her a visit.

On one memorable trip he told us that even though the Rover sedan we had offered him was very posh, he wanted a convertible! Unfortunately, at the time we couldn't rustle up a convertible, but my PA Joan came up with an inspired solution.

Joan's personal car was a Mini Moke, to which she had fitted a pair of rear seats. Spike was over the moon, but when we took the elevator to the basement garage, Spike revealed that his Mum and her neighbour had come down in the train to meet him - and he would be driving them back to Woy Woy in the 'convertible'!

I wished I'd had a camera, as Spike drove off with the two elderly women perched on the rear seats, with the roof down, and no seat belts. It must have been a blustery ride back to Spike's mum's house!

He wrote me a very funny thank you note following his return to the UK, which is a valued memento.

And, on a previous visit we did have a photo opportunity in my office.

He was a genuinely funny guy, a true gentleman, and yes, crazy as a loon (no, Goon)!

NOTE: Spike was born in Ahmednagar, India in 1918, and died in the UK in 2002. One of his most famous quotes was:
"A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."

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