AA Salutes Longest Standing Member

Suffolk man honoured after 80 years

The AA today saluted its longest standing member. Arthur Leonard, 102 of Suffolk, joined the AA in 1925 and it is believed he may be the longest standing member of any organisation in the UK.

"Late last year Mr Leonard's daughter called us to cancel his membership," explained Steve Dewey, Director Road Operations for The AA. "She told us that since Mr Leonard no longer drives he didn't need to be a member any longer.

Honorary Membership

"We wanted to acknowledge Mr Leonard's 80 years with us, so we decided we should offer him an honorary membership. He joins a very select group as there aren't many honorary memberships given, but then we don't get many members who've been with us for 80 years!

When Mr Leonard joined The AA there were fewer than one million cars on the roads compared with over 30 million today. The best selling models back then were the Bullnosed Morris Cowleys and Oxfords.

7 motor vehicles

Throughout his 80 years of motoring, Mr Leonard has owned seven motor vehicles, his first being a motorcycle with side car. But his favourites were two Standards.

Mr Leonard joined the National Fire Service during the war where he continued to work before finishing his career at Kent County Council.

Called the AA twice

On receiving his honorary membership, Mr Leonard commented: "I have only ever had to call on the AA twice during my 80 year membership but the protection of knowing that I can call on them and the wider benefits of being part of the group has always kept me a member."

Salute

When Mr Leonard joined the AA in 1925 he was one of only 250,000 members. Along with roadside assistance, members at the time enjoyed the famous AA salute which was used to warn members of police speed traps ahead.

Today Mr Leonard is part of the UK's biggest membership organisation, with 15 million members and around 3,000 dedicated patrols who dealt with over 3.5 million breakdowns last year.

The presentation was made by local AA patrol Christopher Hill (48) who has been with the AA for 29 years.

 

20 December 2006