CLASSIC car enthusiasts from across the north turned a hotel grounds into the most valuable parking lot in the country.

Around 40 members of the Northern branch of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club gathered at White Hall Hotel, Darwen, for their meeting.

They included admirers of the famous cars, along with owners from Carlisle to Crewe who brought a selection of more than a dozen post-war vehicles with them.

But chairman of the Northern section Michael Ackroyd, of Whalley, arrived in a different model altogether.

He said: "My Mark 6 is being restored ,so I had to come in my wife's Volvo today."

The club, formed 40 years ago, has 9,000 members in 57 countries. Its Northern section has 700 members of which a third are active and meet once a month.

Mr Ackroyd, who is retired, said: "Rolls-Royces are beautifully made with a good engine and so people get a lot of pleasure from ownership.

"Most owners have families who have grown up or are people who have treated themselves as they are one of the pleasures in life.

"You could pick a Rolls-Royce up for around £5,000 but would probably spend at least the same on it.

"It is better to spend more and a decent one is usually at least £10,000. There is a real camaraderie in the club and one of the real pleasures in owning a classic car is the pleasure it gives to the general public.

"Complete strangers will come over to have a look and say hello and it is nice to see them enjoying the car."

One new member at the club was David Luckhurst, an engineer and musician from Stockport, who owns entertainer Fu Fu La Mar's former 1976 Shadow 1 with red velvet interior.

He said: "I bought it four months ago to replace my Range Rover and fulfil a life-long ambition.

"I'm single since my divorce three years ago, don't smoke, rarely drink and have no children, so this is my baby and my treat to myself."

Vehicles at Sunday's meeting included Silver Spirits, Silver Spurs, SIlver Shadows and Corniches.

Membership to the club is open to owners and non-owning enthusiasts.