Sammy Miller’s 90th Birthday Party

12th November 2023

Jude Browne and Jon Stone were honoured to attended:-

Sammy Miller’s 90th Birthday Party

12th November 2023

Report & pics, Jude and Jon

We were privileged to receive an invitation to Sammy Millers 90th Birthday party and the 40th anniversary of the founding of the museum. Over the last 4 years we have established a good relationship with Sammy and the museum staff—especially Viv who used to be Sammy’s PA and Sharon Bumpsteed the Museum Manager/ Events organiser.

It was supposed to be a surprise party so we were asked not to breathe a word to anyone. However, it seems that Sammy got wind of it and so it wasn’t quite the surprise it was supposed to be.

We all gathered in the museum and had some drinks while we waited for the birthday boy. Sammy then made his entrance in true Sammy style—racing up and down the drive and then roaring straight into the museum on a Gilera V4.  A sight to behold. Sharon gathered everyone together in the racing hall and outlined how the day was going to work. We then waited for 11am and observed the 2-minute silence before continuing.

Sharon, Sammy and Jude

Sammy Rides in on the Gilera V4 

There then followed a summary of Sammy’s career and achievements (1400 trophies) by Alan Cathcart, an amusing resume which drew quite a few laughs. Rosemary, Sammy’s wife then said a few words which was followed by Sammy deciding he was going to start his speech early.

He told us of how he was enticed away from his native Northern Ireland after early racing success to join Ariel in their Birmingham Works.

He is pictured with some of his Ariel team crew of the '50s - Ron Langston and Gordon Blakeway

Sammy 'alters' Sharon's schedule and holds court!

 Sammy chats with lifelong friend and motorcyclist Alan Cathcart and Lord Montagu of Beaulieu who described him as a 'Living Legend' 

We then had a break for a light lunch and much chat with the other guests, I managed to have a chat with the Head Judge of the Stafford Bike show and other Morton’s shows and picked his brains about classic classes and classic shows in general, A very interesting man. Other guests included Don Rickman, Alan Cathcart (compere), Brian Crichton, Allen Millyard, Gordon Blakeway/Ron Langston Sammy Miller’s Ariel trials team and many journalists and friends from the world of motorcycling. 

It was like a Who's Who of the Motorcycle World!

(Above) Sammy chats with Don Rickman, who with his brother Derek achieved great success with their  Rickman engineering works

After this we reconvened in the museum to cut the cake. Sammy jumped onto a Mondial bike on a plinth (at one stage crouching down behind the fairing!) to continue his speech in true Sammy style—with humour and a few stories. There was lots of banter from his contemporaries in the crowd. 

In the corner of the table you can see the personalised Birthday Card which Jude made - a pic from this year's Classic Show at the Museum

We eventually got round to cutting the cake and gave Sammy a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday, the warmth and regard felt by those present for Sammy was evident. And I do think he really enjoyed the event

We felt honoured to be invited to this celebration of someone who is truly - 'a Living Legend'

Jude Browne