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Gwen Crellin - The Famous Lady in White

Now Just Howe Many Have Walked Through This Door ??

I wonder just how many of you out there who are reading this have been through this door ?

What makes the TT and MGP so special and unique is the interest and support that they receive from the most unlikeliest of people.

Where I live in Sulby, everyone in the village makes a special effort to marshal or just to watch the racing. People that you don't see from one year to the next will turn up at the rope to do either one or the other, and it never fails to amaze me how knowledgeable they are on the sport.

Probably the most well known of all of these volunteers, is the Islands own Gwen Crellin, MBE.

For 38 years Gwen has marshalled for the TT and the MGP. Come rain, hail or shine she would always be in her spot outside of her house at 5 in the morning. She is as much a TT landmark as Ballaugh Bridge or Govenors Dip. All the riders know her and give a wave as they exit Ballaugh village and somehow, there always seems to be one or two of them who manage to mysteriously "break down" around breakfast time, in the vicinity of Gwens house !

On a cold February afternoon, I dropped in on Gwen to talk to her about all things motorcycling and was greeted by her with open arms and a welcome cry of "Where's that lovely man of yours, I haven't seen him here for years".

I was soon made to feel so at ease by Gwen, that I felt as if I was in the presence of a trusted friend whom I had know for years and with whom I could share my confidences.

The character and warmth of Gwen is overwhelming and her bubbly personality and kindness immediately shine through. I was invited into her "Den" where everywhere you look there are racing photos, newspaper cuttings and all forms of memorabilia. It was impossible to concentrate as your mind wanders into a bygone age.

The fire was stoked up, there were sandwiches and cakes laid out enough to feed an army. You are instantly aware that Gwen knows exactly what she is talking about. She knows every rider who ever rode the TT course past and present and has met them all from Ago to the MGP newcomers.

Gwen is a lady who thinks of the Riders. A quality quite easily forgotten by a few of the participants in the sport today. She has a very bubbly and caring personality and speaks very fondly of all the riders and how she enjoys meeting the newcomers each and every year, she can recall all of their names and almost always has a tale to tell about each and every one who crops up in conversation.

(Watch it Henley I heard a cracker about you).

Carol with Gwen
Gwen in typical jovial mood, stands still for a moment, for the camera.
Says it all really.
The inscription says it all, and for those who don't know where it is, then keep your eyes open next time round the circuit.

Gwen always puts on a huge spread for the newcomers as they are shown around the circuit in the newcomers bus for their introductory lap, always stopping at Gwens for their afternoon tea. Their introductory lap would be incomplete without this ritual.

After the have had their introduction to Gwen and her famous hospitality, everyone signs her guest book and gives her a kiss on the cheek before they get back on the bus. The guest book is like a who's who of motorcycling and is in itself a piece of history that would not be out of place in the new proposed TT museum.

So many of the riders, past and present still drop in on Gwen to this day, and who can blame them, as she makes you feel so welcome, and always insists that you sit down and enjoy the sandwiches, cream cakes, chocolate biscuits and never ending cups of tea that she is only to happy to serve up.

You never know just who may be sitting there with a bacon butty in his hand if you call in, and who knows it may just be your hero who has called to pay his respects to Gwen.

Gwens name is known throughout the riders fraternity, by both old and new, is deeply respected and always will be for her magnificent contributions over the years.

Gwens, thoughts and cares for the riders, and what they have to do to go racing and the care which sometimes they require when things can go wrong for them are unparalleled. Over the years she has been involved in numerous charitable organisations all of them dedicated towards providing voluntarily raised finance, by way of sponsored walks, bingo nights, you name it, and all in aid of supporting the riders and the Manx Helicopter Fund in particular, for which she is still the Patron

Gwen has now retired from Marshalling, something that she has done so enthusiastically over the past 38 years, she would be out every morning, afternoon and evening for the practise sessions and would know all the riders ticking them off on her clip board as they went past, she would know exactly who was due, when and which lap they were on.

Without a doubt, the sport could only benefit with more people like her.

Although she has now retired from her Marshalling duties, her house is always open, to all riders.

She receives visitors from all over the world who call to see her and to show their appreciation for her hospitality, dedication and her involvement, with the T.T. and the Manx Grand Prix, and also just to be able to say to others, that they have actually met this famous "Lady in White".

An Amazing array of memorabilia
Gwen proudly points to her MBE plaque, so richly deserved. Gwens house is an absolute treasure trove of mementos and memorabilia.

As I made my way to the door saying my goodbye's and thank you's to Gwen, she dragged me back inside and thrust a cuddly toy into my hands, telling me that this was a gift for my little girl Jenny. (Jenny's name had only been mentioned once, and that was some 3 hours previous). Gwen I thank you for that wonderful gesture and my little girl is over the moon with the present. She is writing a thank you note and I will drop this in, the next time I am passing.

Gwen, it was a brilliant afternoon, talking over old times and chatting about your exploits over the years. It is one that will always stay with me, and it was a real pleasure just being able to be there with you. I thank you so sincerely for permitting me to talk to you and also for the manner in which you welcomed me into your home.


We intend to follow up on this introduction to Gwen with some more facts and figures in the near future, so watch out for it soon.

A model of Ago
Here is a special memento that was given to Gwen By Ago on one of his visits to her house.

Italian Book Reference to Gwen A section of the Italian book "Toursit Trophy - La Corsa Proibita" by Mario Donnini has a reference to The Lady In White

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