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Jan 5th 2022: Larry Riches and his friends drop in for coffee at the rock

As the beautiful weather continues a group of friends stopped off, as they toured Lincolnshire in their Rolls Royce cars, for coffee at The Rock Cafe on The Waterhills on Wednesday.

All the cars are part of Larry Riches’s collection of fine vintage cars, and as we drank coffee, Larry, his wife Christine, and friends Ralph Kemp, John Simpson, Frederick Bawsey and Graham Harrison told me about the histories of the vehicles. Alfie the dog came too.

Larry talked about the 1926 PX3944, which was once driven by the actor Vincent Price in the 1971 film ‘The Abominable Dr. Phibes, although in the film the car was painted black, not the beautfully cream colour it is now.

MXS 619 came from Grimsby at the start of its life in 1935, and then was owned by Henry Hamilton Bailey (1894 – 1961) who was a Harley Street British surgeon, and wrote many surgical text books that are still used today.

Larry brought MXS 619 back from Indianna, and drove it over the Rockies where its fuel pump decided to stop working when they got too high in the mountains. Fortunately for Larry and Christine, as they tried to repair the pump a Rolls Royce expert pulled over, and he soon sourced a new pump for them.

The 1935 OYT 57, had a equally facinating history because it was once owned by the model, actress and socialite Lady Sylvia Ashleigh. She had a number of husbands including Edward Stanley, 6th Barron Sheffield, and actors Clarke Gable and Douglas Fairbanks. 

Lady Ashleigh was born in Paddington on the 1st April 1904, and was buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, after she died in 1977. Larry told me how he and his wife had once taken OYT 57 to the cemetery and put flowers on the Lady’s grave.

A fuller history of Lady Sylvia’s Rolls Royce (above)

Coffee drunk, stories told, and photographs taken, the group of friends continued on their tour, which started, they told me, because one of the group had never been over the Humber bridge before. The cars must have been quite a sight as they went over.

After they left I realised I had met Larry a few years earlier, when my daughter Jessica played a role in a film called ‘Tell them of Us’, and Larry had supplied cars.

The 2014  film tells the true story of a Lincolnshire family whose lives changed when their two sons went off to World War 1. Jessica played their sister Grace when they were all young during flashback scenes. 

You can watch the film, and see more of Larry’s cars in two parts now, via youtube.

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