The History of the Roses

(as narrated and partially remembered by Suzi and Pet!)

First let me say that for those who know us it comes as no surprise that the history on this page is slightly sketchy - it would appear on reflection that we were too busy partying to keep track of dates and stuff, so here goes….

The English Rose Sisterhood was founded in early 1990 by a group of women wanting a club for women only, with no affiliation to any male clubs. The club was initially based in Ashford where the majority of the women lived, and met at the Black Swan. Over time both the location of meetings and members has changed to the point that we now have members from Wales through to Shropshire and London, as well as Kent, and meet in a variety of locations.

In the early days we met up with the Six Clubs Kent, a pre-runner to the later Interclub meeting, where we discussed dates for the diary and ensured that our one- nighters, rallies etc. didn’t clash.

The English Roses have hosted a fair few one-nighters, including a New Years party in the nineties (not sure which year, answers gratefully received) and a ladies night with Women in the Wind, down near Lydden, that included a rather spectacular stripper and a hilarious drag queen.

Over the years we have done our bit for charity including various Poker runs whilst in the Interclub, both hosting sites and riding the runs. Parties for charity included one in 1997 at The Black Horse in Hersden for the ‘999’ appeal - that got us in the local newspaper. A later one for the Hospice also involved a Drag Queen - a bit of a theme maybe? A favourite was the three-legged pub crawl through Canterbury dressed as nuns in aid of Comic Relief - we didn’t break any fund raising records, and we were lucky not to break anything else, but judging by everyone’s hazy memories of that night a good time was had by all (luckily this one was not in the local newspaper).

The club has hosted three rallies over the earlier years, all around the summer solstice in June. It's first was in 1994 at The Black Swan, Charring. This was the weekend a huge storm hit Kent on the Friday night. Some of our members still remember hanging onto the marquee while the band '3 am' played, risking electrocution at the very least. Most of the people at the rally ended up sleeping in the pub, and the silly games were replaced by 'Hunt your Tent' in the morning.

In 1996 we tried again and hosted The Second Blooming Rally at the Stonebridge Inn at Ashford. Luckily the weather was a lot better, though the trash metal band we had on in the afternoon went down like a sack of poo. We pulled the rally off without too many hitches, though we had to try to keep everyone quiet at midnight by orders of the landlord (who incidentally disappeared the next month with all the takings from the pub?!)

Our third rally before a long break was at The Duke of Kent near Faversham, a good rally though we had many a late night chat with the local Police, courtesy of the miserable sod over the road (all the clubs who rallied there will remember him). This rally was to be the clubs last rally for quite some time - we decided on balance, and given the grief, that we were better at supporting other club's rallies (and being on the right side of the bar, hehe).

In August 2007, after many years of riding, partying and friendship, we decided to become hosts again, and staged a one-nighter at the Palm Tree in Elham. A good time was had by all, despite the rain, and Jay from Where's my Thing seemed unfazed by the water pouring off the extension lead which was powering his speakers (ahem ...)  A bigger and better party was already planned for our 18th anniversary the following year!

August 2008 saw our anniversary party, and with the Palm Tree being the perfect picturesque venue we decided to hold the celebrations there again.  We were blessed with fantastic weather, and the usual brilliant turnout of crazy friends, old and new, and of course the obligatory visit from the Old Bill and the moans from an old git across the road who couldn't believe that buying a house next to a pub would mean pissed sorts being noisy!  Who'd have thought?????

Our one-dayer/nighter moved venue in 2009.  It seems that finally the old git across the road finally won the day, and Ma from the Palm Tree decided to retire from the pub business and turn our party venue back into a house!  Bummer.  The Red Lion Badlesmere was our new resting spot, and again we were blessed with August sunshine to sit on the grass with a cold beer, listening to the excellent Kelly's Heroes doing an afternoon set.  The Rejects did us proud as usual, with best club turnout, most drunk members and most bare arses on show by the end of the night.

By 2010 we were on the move again - over to the Share and Coulter in Herne Bay.  Somewhere we could move the music back outside, and gain a bit more camping land to spread out on!  Again the sun shined on the Roses all day and we pitched tents for another weekend of being party hosts.  Friends old and new supported us, and gave us our best turnout to date!  The bands rocked (one fuelled by a bit too much beer - Baz you know who you are) and much dancing was done by all....  I was absolutely thrilled to be celebrating my 40th birthday (ahem ...) and my sisters presented me with a bunch of Roses (what else) and one of Sue's legendary chocolate cakes, which lasted all of two minutes amongst our guests with the munchies....

Into our 21st year the Roses were out and about as much as ever, with regular ride-outs and rallies to embark on.  We hopped over the channel for our European club only outing, and invaded MTC Zedelgem's rally near Bruges.  We won a trophy, were given a tray of beers, cavorted with a stripper, wrote on a drunken guy in permanent marker, upset a German in the toilet, went on a bus trip to Bruges and had a thoroughly all-round excellent time!  Our own event was our 'Coming of Age' party, again at the Share and Coulter.  A special day for us, as we wore our new and updated club colours for the first time.  Marred a little by one our sisters coming off her bike on the way down to the party - happily she was okay, and the party had to go on ... Bad weather made for a slow start, and an interesting pissed 'gazebo moving' exercise midway through the day, but by the time User Friendly got on stage the heavens had cleared and the party was swinging.  Suzi and Tort's drunken table serenade sticks out as a highlight, as well as the tandem space hopper racing and Sambuca water gun shots ... Our good friends from the Norsemen Sussex presented a plaque for our 21st, for which we were dead chuffed!

Roses update: It's now 2015, four years since we last updated our history page and doesn't time fly by.  Our 25th anniversary year, and we're maturing nice and disgracefully :) ... As our photo gallery will testify to, we've been here there and everywhere, and forging fabulous friendships with new clubs here and abroad.  2012 saw our first club road trip to a rally in Dour, Belgium and the start of a friendship with our wonderful brothers and sisters in MCP Horizon.  As the first English club to visit their rally the guys were even more bemused when we took our lids off to find we were all women!  We partied hard, and loved it so much we've been back every year since.  MCP Horizon have been back over the water to our parties, as well as to our friends/brothers in the Rejects Brotherhood, Norsemen MCC Sussex and QRRA to name a few, and for having a small part in building these friendships across waters and boundaries we are exceedingly proud.

We've seen many a milestone birthday these past few years, as well as weddings, new Rosebud births (yep, all girls so far!) and fantastic new Rosey sisters welcomed into the clan.  In our 25th year we decided what better way to celebrate than a full club holiday to Benidorm for 5 days of fun in the sun.  Hadn't done it before so why the hell not!  Fantastic time had by all, and a milestone to remember forever.  We continue to push ourselves to keep it fresh, and have a good few extra road trips/destinations/miles and memories under our belts - Here's to many more years with good friends to share it with!

So this is a very brief history of the club as we remember it, if there is any body out there who has any old photos of the club or rallies etc. please get in touch - all jogs of the memory gratefully received! …