Suggested by Peggy Sandberg (Rowe) in 1960 and established in February 1962 the WMRAC, affectionately known as The Doghouse Owners’ Club, was set up by a group of F1 Drivers’ wives including Mrs Colin Chapman, Mrs John Cooper, Mrs Gregor Grant, Mrs Graham Hill and Mrs John Webb, under the Chairmanship of Sheila Van Damm. Peggy took on the role of acting Secretary.
In those early days motor racing was extremely dangerous and circuit facilities very poor. Many drivers were killed, leaving wives and young families behind to manage their lives alone. The Club set up a Benevolent Fund to help those ladies in their time of need and it was agreed it would continue to help two worthwhile charities each year by fundraising.
As time went on and the number of members grew, fundraising activities started in earnest and over the years hundreds of charities have benefited and millions of pounds have been raised. In the early days the charities were usually those which had helped injured racing drivers but in modern times with accidents being fewer, charities outside this sphere have been included. All kinds of events were, and still are, held from very small raffles too much larger events like the infamous Doghouse Balls with their saucy cabarets performed by the members which took place every two years in London.
In February 2022 we will reach our 60th year, and the fundraising activities will continue – look out for further posts about our early years and details of our upcoming events to celebrate our diamond anniversary year.