EGP08 on reflection

The Elise Garden Party by Iain Palmer


The 6th annual Garden Party was held in Norwich on the weekend of the 9th and 10th of August. Getting Elise owners and enthusiasts together to raise money for charity was the idea of Michael Hipperson. He decided that a local charity, Little Havens Children’s Hospice deserved some help and believed many others would agree. This has proven to be the case. His first year’s effort raised a total of £640 and each year has seen this sum increase.


Michael spends his whole year chasing sponsorship. He is working his contacts and pounces on those he wants autographs pictures or whatever from anyone who can help out. This year he had autographed photos and paintings especially for his auction from dozens of people including, Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barrichello, Stirling Moss, Jackie Stewart, Clive Chapman, Cedric Celzer, Bob Dance, Ron Denis, Emerson Fittipaldi and motorsport artist Andrew Kitson. Michael had paintings donated and a whole range of goods from a travel package to cook books. Signed photos of Jim Clark and Graham Hill were also included. A very mixed bag with a strong car and especially Lotus theme was offered at Saturday night auction.

With almost 30 people donating to the auction and 170 people attending, this just had to be a successful night. And so it turned out to be with almost £30,000 being bid. The biggest draw on the night was a specially commissioned painting of Jim Clark in a Lotus 33 by Dexter Brown. £6000 was secured for this by the owner of Castle Lotus in Essex. If only I had the room in my house and £6000!

Sir John Whitmore was the auctioneer. Guest speaker was the world land speed record holder, Andy Green who gave a great insight into supersonic success and his aim for the steam driven land speed record.

 ( Andy is going for 1000mph in 2012…MH)

We had more Elises there than I had seen anywhere outside the factory. The piece de resistance on the Sunday was a surprise visit by a Lotus Evora, only it’s 4th public showing. The car was the fourth prototype and was very much a work in progress. It was remarkable how small it looked for a 2+2 until an Elise was parked next to it. It really is however a good packaging job. At £45,000-£58,000 it is aimed squarely at Porsche.

For lunch on Sunday we set off in a great long crocodile for a BBQ at one of the local grand country houses, Rainthorpe Hall. At the tail end of this crocodile I had a little trouble keeping up with a DB9 Aston in my little Nissan. I was very relieved when after several wrong turns we arrived for lunch. 

How Michael can continue his yearly improvement in The Garden Party and top each one next year, I cannot imagine. I thank him for the chance to attend this year and wish him all success when the time comes about next year 

( Iain writes for Melbourne Lotus fanzine Lotus Notes. He has owned a Europa since 1969 which now shows 250,000 miles on the clock !)