The ACU Benevolent Fund was established in 1951 and has, for many years, provided a prop for ACU club members and their families in times of extreme difficulty. It runs additional to any insurance schemes and beneficiaries cannot claim, though they may be recommended through their own ACU affiliated club, for consideration by the committee.
As you can imagine, it is not a bottomless pit and is dependent on donations and fund raising activities by the members. The ACU does not apply a levy to support this fund and the principles by which fund raising should be undertaken is simply that, someone may need help - and it could be you or yours. Like donating blood we reckon. How could you accept a life saving transfusion if you have never given?
The Auto-Cycle Union Benevolent Fund was formed in 1950 with a small budget of £80.00.
The fund was originally financed, in cash, by the ACU Management with an amount of £396 and one penny and subsequently by donations, subscriptions, bequests and subscriptions under covenant.
The original Trustees: Professor A M Lowe, Major Harry Watling, John Ferguson and Ken Topping, who became the first treasurer. The editors of the Motor Cycle and Motor Cycling were: Arthur Bourne and Graham Walker (father of Murray Walker). The Presidents of the South Midland and Yorkshire Centres, Bob Lowe and Alan Jefferies formed the Administrative Committee.
Centre Clubs and individuals responded to appeals for financial help. Organisers promoted Grass Track, Motocross and Road Race meetings on behalf of the Benevolent Fund. In 1954 came the introduction of Ben Fund TT Badges - a different design every year.
Early on it was realised that a committee meeting could not function effectively without the guidance of advisers on the spot. For this reason, representatives from ACU Centres were appointed and many cases of hardship would not have come to light without their local knowledge. From the beginning the intention of the fund was to reduce financial hardship.
The Benevolent Fund, like any other Registered Charity, is registered with the Charity Commission. The fund is not an Insurance scheme for which stated benefits are an entitlement. No one has a right to help from the fund. It is up to the committee to decide the amount of assistance that may be given.
The first Chairman of the committee in 1950 was Alan Jefferies, followed by Louis Ellis and Keith Collow. Our present Chairman is Roy Hanks. The first Treasurer in 1950 was Ken Topping, followed by Eddie Cope and Bill Smith, all from the East Midland Centre.
Without investments the income received from donations, the sale of badges etc, would not cover the grants paid out each month. Investments help but it is essential to have a steady flow of donations to cover the higher level of grants necessary, to offset inflation.
The Fund Today
After our 50th year the Fund is continuing to help past and present Club Members and their dependants who, through no fault of their own, face financial difficulties and need help in coping with them, and the grants they receive helps them considerably over the period, but we must once again make it very clear that the Fund is NOT an additional form of Insurance, members are covered for this by the ACU Insurers, but a Charity supplying grants monthly to augment small incomes.
Insurances, Social Security and other state benefits could be applicable and sufficient in most cases. The area that the Benevolent Fund can be of assistance is in the initial period prior to the state benefits being arranged. Our Centres help us with donations, sponsored events, raffles, functions etc., and we are very grateful for the money they send to us. Everyone will appreciate in these difficult times, the Benevolent Fund are being requested to give more assistance than in the past, therefore we again request your continued support in helping us to assist those in need.
Finally, everybody who buys one of the yearly T.T. badges is helping in a small way to contribute, as without all these sources of income we would find it very difficult to maintain our present levels of assistance.
Each Centre has at least one Centre Benevolent Fund Officer (or CBFO) and it is his responsibility to obtain all the information possible on the special forms provided, verify it and then pass it on to Rugby for consideration at the next Committee meeting, but if it is urgent there is a small sub-committee consisting of the Chairman and Treasurer of the Fund who are empowered to make an emergency grant without waiting for it to be agreed in full committee.
It should also be made perfectly clear that all the information on the Forms, names, personal details, questions regarding income and expenditure is treated as STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL to the CBFOs, the Ben Fund Trustees and their Committee and also their Secretary, and the information is never divulged to anybody else without permission.
ACU Benevolent Fund Committee
ROY HANKS (Chairman)
Roy has been a member of the Administrative Committee since 1988 and was made a Trustee in 1989. Roy took over the role of Chairman in 1997 and still remains in this position. Roy still enjoys competing at International level and competes in the Isle of Man TT sidecar class every year. He is presently an ACU Director and Co-Chairman of the ACU Medical Panel.
Mr. R. Hanks (Chairman), 50 Lyndhurst Road, Birmingham B24 BQS.
Tel: Home: 0121 686 3799 Work: 0121 373 1035
WYN EVANS (Vice Chairman)
Wyn has been Centre Benevolent Officer for the Isle of Man Centre for 13 years and was invited to be the first lady member of the Administrative Committee and trustee in 2002. Wyn has been Competitors Welfare Officer for the Manx Grand Prix since 1998, the Southern 100 since 1999 and the TT since 2000. Wyn is involved with the Southern 100 Racing Club, the Andreas Racing Association and the local Centre.
Mrs. W. Evans, 3 Mount View Terrace, Onchan, Isle of Man IM3 1AB.
Tel: 01624 621296
BILL SMITH Bill joined the Benevolent Fund as a member of the Administrative Committee in 1987 and was made a Trustee in 1988. He was asked to take on the role of Treasurer at this time and was active in this position until 2009. Bill was a Director and Treasurer of the ACU for many years and has always been actively involved in the ACU at all levels. Bill was made an Honorary Member of the ACU in 1999.
Mr. R. W. Smith, 59 Green Avenue, Chellaston, Derby DE73 6TE.
Tel: 01332 722671
Julie joined the ACU in 1987 and was Benevolent Fund Secretary from 1989 until her retirement in August 2007. The Committee invited Julie to become a Trustee of the Benevolent Fund in 2006 and she is now actively involved in Benevolent Fund matters.
Roy has been a Centre Benevolent Fund Officer for 5 years and in 1999 was asked to join the Benevolent Fund as a Committee Member. Roy has held an FIM Motocross Licence for a number of years, acting as Overseas Steward in many Countries. Roy is an active member of the Waterlooville MCC and presently Roy organises an annual Speedway event in the Isle of Wight, with all proceeds going to the Benevolent Fund.
Mr. R. Collins, 12 Winchester Road, Buckland, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO2 7PT.
Tel/Fax: 02392 691803
MARGARET CARTER (Treasurer)
Margaret joined the Benevolent Fund as a member of the Administrative Committee in September 2004 and become Treasurer of the Fund in 2009. Margaret is actively involved in the Yorkshire Centre and has been their Centre Benevolent Fund Officer since 2002.
Mrs. M. Carter JP, Hunters Gap, Thorpe Lane, Guiseley, Leeds LS20 8JH.
Tel: 01943 878666
Lyn joined the Benevolent Committee in 2016 having already been the Centre Benevolent Fund Officer for Cheshire & North Wales Centre.
Mrs L Francis, Ballaspur, 15 Furrocks Lane, Ness, Neston, South Wirral, CH64 4EH
Tel: 0151 336 4940
Dave joined the Committee in 2017, having been a Centre Benevolent Fund Officer for many years.
Mr D Porter, 22 Belper Road, Luton, Beds, LU4 8RG
Tel: 01582 651189
Charlie has recently joined the Benevolent Fund as a member of the Administrative Committee in October 2008. Charlie is actively involved in the South Western Centre.
Mr. C. Pattison, 6 Churchfields, Wincanton, Somerset BA9 9AJ.
Tel: 01963 33001