Full Steam ahead at Riverside Rally
IT was full
steam ahead last weekend, 18 April to 19 April 2009, at the first
steam rally to be held at Riverside, Banks near Southport. The
warm sunshine conspired to lure folks to this event, and they were
not to be disappointed. The chosen site was Riverside Holiday
Park, which had ample parking and a spacious site, where the
exhibits were well laid out. It was busy without being
crowded. All of which produced a pleasant and unhurried
atmosphere, in which visitors could relax and admire the large array
of gleaming steam machines, many hissing and clanking away; traction
engines, steam rollers and a threshing box, among others. A
penny farthing bicycle was in evidence and looked a thoroughly
uncomfortable mode of transport. Numerous, spanking vintage
and veteran cars swanked in their lines, inviting respect for their
dedicated owners. As did the many old commercial vehicles,
motor bikes; including a few scale models, and retired buses.
The latter evoked nostalgia in quite a few people including those
who entered the Ribble Vehicle Preservation Trust’s display bus.
At the other extreme, there was a flight simulator to represent the
modern days and a climbing wall to challenge active children, plus a
play area; whilst lots of trade and craft stalls satisfied the
shoppers. A miniature steam railway captivated the children,
and some not so young, and small steam engines chugged around the
grounds on occasion.
The area was, thankfully, not overwhelmed by fast food outlets but
was well served by a popular Hog Roast, where a butcher demonstrated
the art of making the sausages, which were also on sale along side
burgers. There was also an ice cream van. One
regret... I didn’t find a tea or coffee supplier, maybe next
For those interested in fauna, there were ferrets, from Sid’s Ferret
Rescue of Bolton. Karen Richardson’s Donkey Rides provided a
very traditional attraction. There is something about donkeys
that makes them so appealing. The magnificent birds form Horus
Birds of Prey were also a draw. And, adding their particular
magic, all around the merry sounds of steam organs were to be heard
blending in with the demonstrated skill of wood carving with a power
saw. Commenting on events was Town Crier, Don Evans, who
chatted to us about his experiences as West Lancashire’s Town Crier.
He has been in the post for the last six years and obviously enjoys
it. He says one has to be:- "an eccentric showman for
this job." He told us a little about the history, including
that William the Conqueror created the first Town Criers and granted
them special state powers to announce the news. So, along with
vintage machinery, a further interesting history lesson was on
offer. This all made for a grand day out.
We were told that the idea for this rally came from John Johnson,
Alan Atkinson, William Hunter, Peter Wareing and George Harrison,
all of whom were steam enthusiasts and also had worked together for
charities for some time. Initially the plan was for a small
steam rally, but things just grew! Representatives from
branches of the Rotary Club, including Kirkham and Rural Fylde and
Preston South were on hand to help.
Neil Worth of Preston South said it was:- "A superb day!
Thanks to everyone who attended. All the local charities will
benefit greatly. Grateful thanks to the Harrison family for
allowing us to have the ground."
George Harrison Jnr.
also thanked Kate Moss, an employee of Harrison Leisure and who had
undertaken the role of Rally Co-ordinator. He commented that
it was nice to see so many local people supporting the event.
He added that they had:- "Aimed to please the people who
attended and to make money for local charities." After one
day it was evident they were achieving just that.
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