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Riverside Steam Rally.

A very English pastime is getting yourself full of coal dust, oil & a few beers! These are the kind of people who go to extraordinary lengths to transport these mammoth monsters across miles to show us their ex-work horses from days gone by. With memoires of what Fred Dibnah showed us, (and who did more to enhance the love of those great machines  on television?) we filled three cars with grandparents, mums, dads & kiddie winkies & had a brilliant few hours amongst it all.

Apparently, Four friends called Alan Atkinson (the man who transported Fred's engine during the filming of the TV series), William Hunter, John Johnson and Peter Wareing have organised various rallies over the years and raised thousands of pounds for local charities. Between them, they have an impressive collection of steam vehicles.

The four have been ‘brought out of retirement’ by the Harrison Family, owners of the Riverside Holiday Complex at Banks Nr Southport, which is the venue for the event. Mr George Harrison said “We needed an event that would allow us to raise funds for local charities, and as such allow us to pay something back to the community. We are very pleased that Alan, John William and Peter have agreed to organise the event on our behalf and hopefully we can make this an annual event”. So this April 2009 a packed, sun drenched affair it turned out to be too.

I had not been to a rally for ages & I'd forgotten how varied a show it could be. Not just the steam rollers but every size of engine imaginable. Tiny engines, beautifully handmade in glorious detail, each enthusiast seeming to have their own unique angle on the hobby. Gigantic steam engines that were the working machines of their day. Then there were the lorries, ancient & modern. Vintage, veteran & classic cars & motorbikes with many a man (me included) saying "I had one of those ... and those ... & those!"

The fun fair was in full swing & food & drink was everywhere. In various corners of the field there was a huge rock climbing frame, a guy carving wood with a chain saw, a "Birds of Prey Exhibition" & even ferret racing!