Northern Group

Northern Group Assembles for a 50th Anniversary AGM & Kia Driving Day

The 50th anniversary celebrations for the Northern Group of Motoring Writers have begun in style, with our annual general meeting once again hosted by Kia at a rather special venue in Yorkshire.

It’s our second year in a row on the correct side of the Pennines, with Kia hosting the Group’s AGM in events around the vast area that makes up the NGMW’s patch. This year it was the picturesque Aldwark Manor Estate, north-west of York.

The estate itself lies on the east bank of the River Ure, and comprises a renovated 19th century manor and a golf course which spans the river. There’s also connections to the famous Dambusters Raid, as Wing Commander Guy Gibson of No. 617 Squadron reputedly stayed there while in the planning stages of Operation Chastise.

Of course we weren’t there to plan any daring bombing raids, but to drive the range of 13 vehicles Kia had brought along — based at the hotel’s Barnes Wallis room. That included a selection of almost every model the brand sells in the UK today, from the Rio, Stonic, Niro, Ceed, ProCeed, and XCeed cars, through the Soul EV, Sportage, and Sorento SUVs, and even two versions of the EV6.

The fleet was certainly kept busy, with the attending members racking up close to 90 drives over the course of the day and exceeding 1,000 miles between them — roughly the straight-line distance from Aldwark to Reykjavik, Lviv, Split, or Alicante.

With the driving concluded, there was the important business of the Group’s AGM to get through. That included the election of the Group’s officers, and the welcoming of our newer members — Graham King, David Thomas, and George Loveridge — to their first AGM.

Along with the AGM there was also an ordinary general meeting in which the Group’s ongoing plans were discussed, such as the car of the year test day, the pre-SMMT Test Day North event, and a possible day out in October as proposed by Guy and George Loveridge.

Finally, of course, there was the evening celebrations which saw one of the largest turnouts in the Group’s history attending for a seven-course tasting menu in the hotel’s Walsingham Room with a wine selection courtesy of former Northern Group member and now-retired director of corporate communications at Kia Steve Kitson, who was a special guest for the event.

Kia capped the day off with commemorative NGMW 50th Anniversary pin badges, a cake — and some cupcakes — bearing the same design, and a fireworks show which ended with the number “50” on a bright red display of flares. All in all it was a memorable way to mark 50 years!