Gallery: Celebration of steam draws eager crowds

IT was another successful year for the Grand Henham Steam Rally as up to 20,000 people attending the annual charity event.

Steam engines and vintage cars and motorcycles were all on display at the weekend at Henham Park, near Southwold, and a special pageant showcased the history of fire engines.

As Suffolk bathed in sunshine on Saturday, it was difficult to find a free straw bale to perch on around the main arena.

Roger King, on the organising committee, said attendance over the two days was “close on a record” and could have reached 20,000.

“It went extremely well and over the two days it was very busy,” he said.

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“The pageant was very well received, someone said to me that they go to a number of rallies and we’re the only ones with a pageant, telling a story of how the equipment was used.

“The feedback I get is always very good, people like the fact that it is a very friendly rally.”

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Funds from the event will be given to the Wangford District Community Council, the Southwold Lions Club and the churches of Wangford, Sotherton and Uggeshall. Last year, about �50,000 was raised.

There is no rest for the team of 20 organisers – they begin planning for the 37th rally in October.

Mr King has been involved for 16 years and the event has gone from strength to strength. Dog agility, bird of prey, and heavy horse demonstrations can now be seen alongside the vintage engines.

“I think it has got more professional in the way everything is presented, and I think we have seen changes in the scope of the entertainment,” he said.

“The heritage theatre, which was introduced last year, was very successful. People can sit down and watch a film or presentation about heritage in the area.”

Mike Barnard, from Carlton Colville, brought along his dog Benji, and is a fan of the steam rally.

“It’s as good as it always is, the weather has made it for me,” said Mr Barnard.

Gerry and Viv Kemp, from Wenhaston, near Halesworth, said they had been to the rally several years ago and were impressed with the scale of the event.

“It has just grown, it’s wonderful,” said Mrs Kemp. “The weather has definitely helped.”

Richard Britton was there with his young children, on an excursion from their caravan holiday at Sizewell.

“It’s good and a nice day out for the kids,” he said.

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