It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Margaret Brown or better known to the Northern Regions Rally fraternity as “The Broom” lady. In an emotional message her husband of almost 50 years, David Brown said: “Margaret Elizabeth Seymour Brown left us on Friday 21st August 2020 at 05.30. The light in my life has gone out forever.
David has written a brief summary of Margaret and his motorsport involvement over the last few decades. In his own word, this is what he said.
Margaret grew up near Kyalami and was involved with timing and lap scoring in the 1960s. She joined RMC and was a regular competitor in club events, gymkhanas and soon began navigating in regularity and sealed ode rallies. This is where she met David and they rallied together in a Renault R8. She still performed timekeeping duties at Kyalami and marshalled on National rallies. In November 1969, she broke her leg in a gymkhana accident.
They married in January 1970, with her leg still in plaster. Their wedding car was an R8 Gordini, with the passenger seat removed to make space for her broken leg. They relocated to Tzaneen where family and work pressures forced motorsport aside. They assisted with route-finding for the epic Totals of 1971 to 1973. In 1989, David and Margaret were route directors for the PMC Wesbank and Totals up to 2006. Margaret was a teacher so could interact with the foresters in the afternoons and holidays. Actively involved in Tzaneen Regional Rallies from 1995 to 2014, an unbroken 20-year run.
In 2006, David and Margaret did their first duty as sweep on Belfast rally. Being a school teacher, with attention to detail and wanting everything to be in place, she devised a control sheet and filing system for marshals forms and stranded competitors papers. Over the next few years, they did duty as Sweep on most NR Rallies and some Nationals. She insisted on a witches broom being attached to the bakkie’s roll bar or front bumper and soon became known as Mrs Broom. She enjoyed interacting with competitors at the starts of rallies and special stages. She had many amusing accounts of finding stranded or stuck competitors.
Margaret made many friends amongst the numerous marshals she encountered over the years and knew exactly whose paperwork would be in order and waiting for her. And who would have to scurry around looking for their forms !!! She felt sorry for the stranded competitors but didn’t really mind if we came across one of her “hunks”. Margaret’s last sweep duty was the 2018 Midas Tzaneen Rally.
” Can I have your papers please” will be heard no more.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to David and his family. Margaret is gone, but she will never be forgotten.