The Biggest and Best yet! The weather was excellent, record crowds and loads to see. Many people said that two days is just not long enough to look around the show any more if you take in the world famous Shuttleworth Collection and the fantastic Bird of Prey centre, both included in the admission price and free to exhibitors over the weekend.
There were over 100 steam engines again which just made up a part of the 700 exhibits this year. The main display was the 6" Scale section with over thirty in attendance.
There was plenty to see with many tractors, cars, commercials, stationary engines, miniature steam, bygones, the fair, working displays, too much to mention.
New in the steam section, there were many interesting exhibits. John Mann's K7 Ploughing engine was to be seen working for the first time in many years with partner "Lirlkey" owned by A. & M. Jones. Also ploughing was Fowler "Margaret" of 1870, the 'Salvage Squad' engine. From Wales came Pat Jenkins with his Ransomes, Sims & Jefferies overtype wagon of 1923, the only example in this country. David Ragsdale bought along Foster Single Cylinder tractor "Abigail" the only survivor of its type, which has been extensively rebuilt over a number of years. Robert Herring came with his 1914 Allchin Compound, one of only two survivors in this country, the other being David Davenport's which was also present. A third Allchin on site was Bill Bird's "Felicity". Rodney Timson from Norfolk came with his 1908 Fowler, whilst Chris Griffiths brought along the large Clayton & Shuttleworth "The Gaffer". Ernie & Rachel Eagle brought along the full and half size Marshall's "Old Nick" and "Little 01' Nick" as part of the special display.
New to the Showman's line up was Paul Fowler with his large Foster "Victorious" which was to be found working in the fair alongside regular Burrell's "Ex-Mayor" and "Princess Mary". Another new Showman's was Keith Honour's Burrell "Margaret". The engine was previously in Dorset with Nick Baker who attended with "Duke of Kent", the Burrell Road Locomotive that was previously owned by Keith.
Of great interest to many were the Saunders Collection "Harry Lee Steam Yachts" which had not attended a society event since Roxton Park in the mid 1980's.
New in the Road Making Section were three Aveling & Porter products - No.'s 10556, 10647 and 12386 owned by Maurice Foreman, Roger West and Mervyn Button respectively.
Colin Knight bought along his Aveling & Porter Tractor ‘Sir Kay’ and Jay Inge steamed her Ruston Proctor Tractor ‘Lucifer'. Elaine Massey came with her interesting 1911 Garrett Superheated Traction Engine ‘Olive’.
There as once again a good wood sawing area with three benches in action - And Hill and Colin Brothwell had Rack benches whilst Herring Bros had their big Frame Saw working hard. Further down the field was the thrashing and again three sets working, two of Michael Watts and both steam driven and Peter Wheeler's tractor set. Geoff Scott-Coomber had one of his Field Marshall tractors belted to his stone crusher.
There was not only steam ploughing but also a great selection of tractors and some horses working.
As is usual now for our event there were some big Fairground organs in attendance including a welcome return by the Jonas Family from Cornwall with their 110 Key Gavioli.
Another popular attraction we have been lucky to host in the last few years is a derelict engine. This year it was Fowler A8 Compound Estate Engine "Bromyard Queen Nance", No. 11484 of 1909 and owned by Colin Piggott.
Saturday evening saw about 15 engines and other exhibits take a run to the White Horse at nearby Broom. Here they parked around the Green while crews took refreshment. Back at the rally field there was the big Saturday Night Steam Up which was made all the better with the spectacular Showman's line up around the Steam Yachts and Gallopers. In the Beer Tent "Rockin Revival" played. Friday night had seen a band "The Good 01' Boys" and on Thursday night Colin Rickards went down very well. In the daytime entertainment was supplied by the Pauline Reeder dancers, Winston the Singing Farmer, English Brass and the Baldock Midnight Morris Men.