Geoffrey Atkinson dies.

Geoffrey Atkinson OBE, the former chief executive of automotive industry charity Ben, has died after a short illness.

The 81-year-old passed away at home surrounded by his wife and family. He had been suffering from Alzheimers for a number of years.

After leaving school, he joined the Northern Drama School where one of his first roles was in the York Mystery Plays with Dame Judi Dench. 

He then spent several years treading the boards, in children’s theatre and in weekly rep.  He had a part in the Mousetrap when it was first on the London Stage and then went into TV with parts in Emergency Ward 10 and the Army Game.  

Acting was his first love but he made the decision to hand in his Equity Card when his first wife Ann became pregnant.

Realising he needed to start earning regular money he went to work for Heinz and after a time in production he then went on to become part of the sales team. 

From there Geoffrey moved to the oil industry and worked for Texaco.  So disgusted was he at the treatment of petrol site tenants that he decided to start up a Trade Association – The Petrol Retailers Association – in conjunction with Les Ward.

He made his mark in this sector and organised a mass rally of petrol tankers to drive into London and present a petition to Government. 

So successful was this that along with others his involvement finally saw the introduction of Government legislation to finally outlaw the restrictive trade practices of the major fuel retailers.

The PRA was then absorbed into the Motor Agents Association (now the Retail Motor Industry Federation) and following a year with the organisation he was approached to become the CEO of Ben, where he stayed for the remainder of his career, retiring at the age of 65 having served for 25 years.

He was responsible for starting to provide specialist care for young disabled people from the industry alongside Alzheimer’s care units in two of the four nursing and residential centres.

In conjunction with the then director of Welfare he set up the first industry day care centre at Peugeot in Coventry and the centre continues to thrive.

His leadership proved to be invaluable when the 1990 recession hit and he persuaded each member of staff to take a 5% pay cut, led by himself and also to volunteer to give five hours each week in the centres.

For his work he was awarded an OBE in 2000.

His funeral takes place on February 14 at 12 noon.  For details please contact Tina at In addition to his wife Tina, Geoffrey leaves three children, Kate, Tim and Mike, step daughter Kirsty and nine grandchildren.


By the time I arrived at the Retail Motor Industry Federation where I was Chief Executive from 1995 to 1999 the Petrol Retailers Association was already part of it and Geoffrey was well installed at BEN and was working his magic. I was soon to join the BEN board of trustees and worked with Geoffrey for many years. He was inspirational, highly individualistic and attracted huge loyalty from everyone around him.

Running a charity is no easy task but Geoffrey attracted support from the industry and it was with some pride he was able to say that the automotive industry had its own bespoke charity – not many sectors do – and that it was something we should be proud of and nurture. Also, unlike some charities that struggle to keep going, BEN has gone from strength to strength over the years, changing with the needs of the industry and delivering what is required in today’s world.

Geoffrey had many other interests. He was a very good photographer, an accomplished actor and as with everything he did, a sense of urgency and a can do attitude made things happen.

He was a delight and I value our relationship. Geoffrey would be horrified if I fell into the trap in this short tribute of only saying true but nice things about him. In getting things done he was capable of being acerbic (forthright) and direct (blunt) but anyone who knew him realised this was a means to an end; the end game was always helping people in the automotive industry who needed help.

Christopher Macgowan


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Ferrari – the world’s strongest brand.

Ferrari has been awarded the title of the world’s strongest brand for the second consecutive year by Brand Finance, the leading international independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy. With a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 94.1 out of 100, Ferrari tops the rankings of only 12 brands to be awarded the highest AAA+ rating.

Presented today during the World Economic Forum at Davos, the Brand Finance Global 500 2020 report calculates the value of the Ferrari brand at 9.1 billion USD with year on year growth of 9%, boosted by positive sales and overall brand strength.

Brand Finance determines brand value by estimating the net economic benefit to the brand owner of licensing the trademark on the open market. It measures brand strength on the basis of the efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures compared to its competitors. 

Jason Harris
Direzione – Communication
Ferrari North Europe 275 Leigh Road, Slough, Berks SL1 4HF; UK
T (+44) 1753 878704    F (+44) 1753 878770    M (+44) 7748 333389 

Christopher Macgowan


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UK doubles electric charging point funding.

Britain has doubled funding for charge-points on residential streets, noting real-time information could also be made available, helping to cut waiting times by showing which power banks are being used.

In future, open data on public charge-points would allow for information to be added to satnavs and travel apps.

UK Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps said government funding will be doubled to GBP10m (US$13m) for the installation of charge-points on residential streets next year. This could fund up to another 3,600 charge-points across the country and make charging at home and overnight easier for those without an off-street parking space.

The government is also looking at how to make information about all public charge-points including locations and power ratings openly available in a standard format for the first time. The Department for Transport will look at how real-time information could be published, showing whether charge-points are in working order and currently in use, which could then be used by developers and incorporated into satnavs and route mapping apps

“We want to make electric cars the new normal, and ensuring drivers have convenient places to charge is key to that,” said Shapps.

“By doubling funding again for charge-points on streets where people live and opening up data, we are helping drivers locate and use reliable charge-points whether at home or on the road.”

Government and industry have supported the installation of more than 17,000 devices providing 24,000 publicly available charge-points, of which 2,400 are rapid versions. The UK now has one of the largest charging networks in Europe with more locations for charging than there are petrol stations.

The Department for Transport adds government has challenged industry to provide debit and credit card payment at all newly-installed rapid charge-points and develop a roaming solution across the network, allowing electric vehicle drivers to use any public charge-point through a single app or payment method.

The announcement follows the establishment of the government’s National Chargepoint Registry (NCR) in 2011, which is an open source of data for all public charge-points.

All publicly funded charge-points are already required to be uploaded onto the NCR, but the government now aims to ensure information on all public charge-points is released.


Christopher Macgowan


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Elon Musk set to cash in at Tesla as deliveries and shares soar | Technology | The Guardian

The boss of the electric carmaker has a $50bn pay package ready to roll if the firm hits a $100bn valuation
— Read on

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A Blast from the Past.

invited to join Forgotten Favourites at the event in the grounds of the National Motor Museum. 


Owners who would like to take part with their 1960-1990 classic vehicles should get in touch with the Beaulieu events team to be considered – places are limited and show entry is free for vehicles that are accepted. Successful owners will receive a pair of three-day entry wristbands for International Autojumble, an unmissable date on the classic car calendar to find rare parts and automobilia bargains on over 2,000 stands.


For event-goers, modern classics are sure to be well represented – especially with the Austin Metro and Fiat Panda both reaching their 40th birthdays in 2020. These pint-sized hatchbacks are welcome to drive into the diverse display.


From the Vauxhall Chevette, Renault 16, Austin Allegro and Datsun Bluebird, to the Volkswagen Polo, Citroen CX, Triumph Toledo and Volvo 240, not to mention the scarcely-seen DAF 66, Talbot Samba and Fiat 131 . . . all examples are welcome. To apply to take part in Forgotten Favourites click here or call 01590 614614 for details.

Christopher Macgowan


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No alignment post-Brexit

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Shot from the past, aimed at the future.

The National Motor Museum Trust has been awarded £74,527 by Arts Council England to reinterpret Land Speed Record-breaking icon Golden Arrow, using computer generated augmented reality and historic collections to enhance engagement for visitors.

The distinctive 1929 Golden Arrow was a wonder of its time. It was a harmonious blend of technology and design, producing a masterpiece of Art Deco expression which paved the way for two decades of unbroken British record-breaking success. With Major Henry Segrave in the driving seat, pushing the boundaries of engineering and human endeavor to the limit, this arrow shattered its target and set a new Land Speed Record of 231.36mph.

1929 Golden Arrow being unpacked from crate

Today, Golden Arrow is on permanent display at the National Motor Museum in a multi-media presentation which also features its record-breaking stablemates the 1920 Sunbeam 350hp, 1927 Sunbeam 1,000hp and 1960 Bluebird CN7. This project, The Golden Arrow – Shot from the Past, Aimed at the Future will complement the existing installation with a new display and interactive area. Research on the museum’s rich collections will provide content for digital media and reveal untold stories of the car and those involved with it. Work will begin in January and conclude in March 2022, with the refreshed display remaining on show.

The project will enable schools and universities to explore STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) through a focus on Golden Arrow and the museum will also offer craft sessions inspired by its beautiful design.

We will be sharing stories and updates from the project on social media and in specially written blogs throughout the duration of the project.

National Motor Museum


Christopher Macgowan

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