Vintage Panthers roar into Cleckheaton

Panther owners Tom Norman, John Shaw, Steve Rogers, Vic Lomax, Ted Tinker, Dave Thornber and Dave Soundy
Panther owners Tom Norman, John Shaw, Steve Rogers, Vic Lomax, Ted Tinker, Dave Thornber and Dave Soundy
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Former employees of Phelon and Moore had a nostalgic trip down memory lane during the annual Panther rally into Cleckheaton.

Around a dozen vintage bikes from all over the country rolled into town on Sunday afternoon where they were reunited with some of the staff who helped to build the iconic machines.

Tom Norman, chairman of the Panther Owners Club which organises the pilgrimage, said it had once again been a huge success.

“What was particularly pleasing this year was the number of former workers who turned up,” he said.

“They are always full of anecdotes and tales of working at P&M – we could listen to them all day!

“We’re also talking about creating an oral history of P&M, and recording their stories.”

The rally has been going every year since around 1980 and allows Panther owners to ride into the town where the machines were made.

As the works is no longer there, they congregate at the Commercial pub in Bradford Road, which is next to where the factory once stood.

“It’s a very special event for Panther owners, who are really obsessive about their bikes,” said Tom.

“The Panthers are idiosyncratic, they are full of character and tend to attract like-minded individuals – I guess both man and machine are slightly cranky!

“There does seem to be a resurgence of interest in Panthers, in fact we’ve had an inquiry from someone who wants to open a fish and chip shop with a Panther theme.”

The club is also appealing for information on P&M employees who lost their lives in the Great War.

“We do an annual trip to Ypres in Belgium, and it would be really nice to be able to visit the graves of any employees – or indeed any Cleckheaton men – who died there so we can pay our respects,” added Tom.

“We’d love to do it next year, which will be the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.”

Anyone with information on any war dead from P&M can contact Tom on 07951 746362 or email him at chairman@pantherownersclub.com.