THOUSANDS of people enjoyed the sunshine and entertainment on display as one of the area’s largest steam rallies attracted another fine turn-out.

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The Grand Henham Steam Rally may now be in its 38th year, but proving to be as popular as ever the first day of the annual north Suffolk weekend rally provided education and enjoyment for all the families present.

Last year, record numbers descended on the Henham Estate, near Southwold, and more than £40,000 was raised for local charities as the 37th rally was hailed as a stunning success by organisers.

And the first day of this year’s rally started in stunning style with the weather befitting the occasion. As north Suffolk bathed in Saturday sunshine, the main arena was packed as spectators sat on straw bales to enjoy the entertainment.

Roger King, publicity officer, said: “The weather has been fantastic - it has been perfect today. I have never seen such a fantastic range of tractors here as what we have this weekend.”

The popular annual event, held at Henham Park off the A12 between Southwold and Beccles, began at 10am with steam engines from all over the country - including one from Holland - parading the venue.

A vintage tractor parade followed, before the Southwold and Reydon Corps of Drums took centre stage. All eyes turned skywards next as Team Spectrum left the audience spellbound, with their kite flying routines.

with more than 300 vintage and classic cars being showcased throughout the weekend, the classic cars then revved up to parade around the arena before a commercial and military vehicle parade. The Samboomba samba band entertained before the Suffolk and Shire heavy horses then demonstrated their skills with their wagons followed by a parade by numerous vintage motorcycles and cycles.

In the second arena, the history of a ‘major’ tractor icon was showcased during a special pageant - as Ford and Fordson were honoured in a special tribute to one of the most famous tractor brands in the world.

From the sickle to the combine harvester - an appreciative audience were then thoroughly educated and entertained by another special pageant as Harvesting through the ages told the fascinating story of how man has gathered in the cereal harvest over the centuries. The crowds walked around numerous stalls, displays static exhibitions, demonstrations and watched a variety of performances in the two arenas.

Other family entertainment included live theatre and music, the Ken Fox Wall Of Death, children’s shows, a vintage fairground and hundreds of trade stands - with the Lowestoft dog agility display team among the local attractions.

The rally is organised by the Southwold Lions Club, the Parochial Church Councils of Wangford cum Henham, Uggeshall and Sotherton, the Wangford and District Community Council and a team of enthusiasts.

With the rally raising money for local charities, addressing the visitors, chairman Mike Powell-Evans, added that the event was about “enjoyment and education.” He said: “Each year we try for something slightly different to entertain you, and this year we have gone back to our agricultural past for pageants demonstrating the development of harvesting and the history of the tractor icon. Our main objective as a charity is to raise awareness of the place in history of mechanically propelled vehicles and their part in shaping the land and the way we live today.”

The rally continues with another day of entertainment tomorrow (Sunday). Admission costs £10, with accompanied children under 14 free, and free car parking, as the rally runs from 10am to 6pm.

All profits from the event go to local charities, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).

EVENT TIMINGS TOMORROW

RING 1

11.15am Vintage Tractor Parade

12.15am Spectrum Kite Flying Display

12.45pm Heavy Horses

1.15pm Classic Car Parade

1.45pm Stage Coach display

2.15pm Pageant – Harvesting through the ages

3pm Steam Engine Parade

3.30pm Address by the Revd. Joan Lyon, Vicar of Wangford, Uggeshall and Sotherton

3.40pm Steam Engine Tortoise Race

4pm Spectrum Kite Flying Display

4.30pm Vintage Commercial and Military Vehicle Parade

RING 2

10am Steam Engines

11.30pm Urban Allstars

Noon Vintage Motorcycle Parade

12.30pm Samboomba Samba Band

1pm Pageant – Ford and Fordson – The history of a major tractor icon

1.45pm Lowestoft Dog display Team

2.15pm Vintage car parade

2.45pm Samboomba Samba Band

3.15pm Heavy horse Harness Demonstration

3.45pm Urban Allstars

4.10pm Lowestoft Dog Agility Display Team

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