Belfast Advanced Motorists History

The Belfast Group was founded in 1961, making it one of the oldest groups in IAM RoadSmart and the first group to be established in Northern Ireland. Initially membership was small and meetings irregular with no fixed venue. However as the group developed a regular meeting place was established together with a programme for recruitment and training. A great deal of thanks is due to the late Charles C. Smith, as regular monthly committee meetings were from then on held in his home, and calorie packed suppers provided by his sister-in-law Mrs. Margaret Laverty, who had taken on the role of secretary, since Charles' passing.

Margaret retired in 2005 after supporting the group for over 17 years, and was awarded with the vice-presidency of the group along with Eddie McMaster, who has been involved with us since 1976. The group also owes a lot to the input of the current Chief Observer, driving instructor Brian McMinn, who has also been with the group for over 20 years. Our current president is Lord O'Neill of Shanes Castle, Antrim.

The group has met at many venues including Harmony Hill Arts Centre in Lambeg, Lisburn Civic Centre and Lisburn Masonic Hall. Wanting to establish ourselves in Belfast in line with our name; we moved to Belfast Boat Club in January 2007, where we stayed until January 2013 when we moved to our current venue of Belmont Tower Conference Centre, which is the famous old school building in the Belmont area now owned and maintained by The National Trust.