It is with great sadness that we must report the death of Peter Solomons. Pete was Chair of the Woodcote Charitable Association and a stalwart of the Rally for many years. He died after a short illness, aged 77.
Pete and his wife, Pat, drove through Woodcote in 1976 in search of a new house, saw the Rally in progress and decided to relocate to the village because it looked interesting, Pete’s involvement in the Rally started a year later, driven by his desire to contribute to his community and by his love of all things mechanical, particularly if they were old! Before long, he had joined the Rally committee and his contribution continued to grow until, in 1989, he was elected Chair of the committee and thus became the Rally Director.
Under his leadership, the Rally prospered. Bigger crowds meant more profit, all of which was donated towards good causes in the village. Pete was an ambassador for the Rally, working with many organisations in the village to deliver projects ranging from the children’s playground to the community centre. As the leader of the Rally, he was much admired for his ability to keep calm, find a solution and carry on, always with a smile. It was important to have fun. His hard work and dedication were respected by all who knew him.
In 2015, he was elected Chair of the Woodcote Charitable Association, the company and registered charity that administers the Rally. He led a project to modernise the constitution of the company and focused on safety and financial stability, all aimed at ensuring the Rally can continue to prosper well into the future.
Others have continued his work as Rally Director, allowing Pete to focus on the things he enjoyed most. For the last few years, he was a fixture in the commentary box, organising the programme of events in the main ring, keeping the commentary team in order, and enjoying the best view on the field of the countless old cars, motorbikes, tractors, lorries and steam engines that passed in front of him. He still found time to visit the beer tent – socialising was important to Pete.
Outside of the Rally, he had many interests, all of which he shared with Pat. He was a keen ornithologist. He and Pat would regularly visit Slimbridge and Welney reserves and were both members of the RSPB.
They were also members of the Vintage Sports-Car Club, and spent many happy days at Goodwood, Silverstone and Prescott.
He loved sport. Motor sport was his favourite but he also loved rugby and was a London Irish season ticket holder for many years. The flag of Saint George always flew when England were playing. Although not known for his sporting prowess, his claim to fame was a hole in one at the short second on the Oratory golf course during a Christmas social competition.
Those who knew him will remember him for his friendship, his sense of humour, and his passion to live a good life well. He was kind, considerate and always smiling. Nothing was too much for him.
He is survived by his wife, Pat, and his brother, Clive. His funeral was held at Reading Crematorium on 26th March 2021. Donations in Pete’s memory in aid of Cancer Research may be made through the undertakers, Tomalin & Son of Henley.