Pastures new for annual steam rally

Henham Steam Rally 2014

Henham Steam Rally 2014 - Credit: Nick Butcher

A annual heritage event is moving 30 miles away from its “spiritual home” on a countryside Suffolk estate.

The Grand Henham Steam Rally will this year be held at Trinity Park – the home of the Suffolk Show – near Ipswich.

Organisers of the rally said the decision to stage September’s event elsewhere had not been taken lightly, but was the result of an unsuccessful contract negotiation.

It will not be the first time the 40-year-old rally has strayed from its customary venue of Henham Park, near Southwold, but will be the first change of location since it returned to the estate following several years of absence in 2005.

The organising committee said the decision was made after lengthy negotiations with the owners of Henham Park failed to produce a contract acceptable to both parties.

Mike Powell-Evans, committee chairman, said he was disappointed with the outcome.

“Henham Park is the spiritual home of the rally and has been its venue for most of its 40 year history, so this decision was not taken lightly,” he added.

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“The Henham Steam Rally has become an important event, not least for the thousands who take part but also for the many charities that use it to raise thousands of pounds each year. It’s therefore very important that it continues and this change of venue will allow it to do so.”

Henham Park is located just north of Blythburgh and is owned by the Rous family. It hosts a number of events throughout the years, including Suffolk’s biggest music festival, Latitude.

Over the years, and for various reasons, the rally has been forced to move to new locations.

During a nomadic few years before returning to Henham Park a decade ago, it was held at Sibton Park, near Yoxford, the Norfolk Showground, just outside Norwich, and at Benacre Park, where it was able to accommodate record numbers of exhibitors and stall holders.

In 2001, the rally was forced to relocate following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, finding a temporary home at a stubble field in Brampton.

The organisers said they are confident the move to Trinity Park will prove successful as it offers new facilities and an opportunity to reach a new audience.

The 41st Grand Henham Steam Rally is due to take place on September 19 and 20.

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