GALLERY: Engines steam into centre of attention at Strumpshaw Steam Rally

Pumping pistons, thick smoke from burning coal and the hiss and whistle from dozens of steam engines created an evocative atmosphere of yesteryear for the crowds at the Strumpshaw Steam Rally.

Families and engineering enthusiasts took in the smell of hot oil as more than 50 steam engines were brought to life for the annual rally.

The beautifully preserved vehicles paraded around the main ring and through the parting crowds at the three-day event in the village of Strumpshaw, near Norwich.

Elsewhere, 15 miniature steam engines, dozens of fun fair attractions and shows by sheep dogs and heavy horses created a hive of activity.

But the highlight of this year's rally came from the musical tunes of a brand new organ shipped in from Holland.


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The Kedlers Dance Hall Organ Breugel Rhapsody, built just two months ago, was played in public for the first time as visitors perused the trade stands and displays.

Joint organiser Paul Worbey said the rally in Strumpshaw Park provided a great selection of everything that is part of the engine and vehicle movement.

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'For me, it's all about people coming here, enjoying themselves and experiencing a proper family show,' he added.

'But the rally is also here to support the Strumpshaw Steam Museum. That is where the takings from this event will go and in the last two years we have managed to raise more than �30,000 to keep it running.'

Mr Worbey, who organises the rally with William Key, believes more than 12,000 people are likely to pass through the event over the bank-holiday weekend. 'We are hoping to put �15,000 this time into the museum fund,' he said.

Meanwhile, steam engine driver Damon Hollah provided people with a taste of the 1920s with the vehicle he was displaying.

The 22-tonne Burrell Scenic Showmans Engine, adorned with bright light bulbs, was used to generate power for fairground rides.

Mr Hollah, who had brought the machine from Tonbridge in Kent, said: 'People like the smell of these old steam engines and that sense of nostalgia.

'It brings back images of those times when all the young people would be waiting for that highlight of the year when the fair rolled into town.

'It was an attraction for a lot of people to see a machine, that was not a horse, powering the rides.'

As well as providing a tour through engineering history, the event also showcased new machines.

Brothers Rik and Bas Kelders, from Holland, created a eye-catching show with their brand new organ, which played movie soundtracks as the films were projected on to a big screen.

Strumpshaw Steam Rally contines today.

ben.woods@archant.co.uk

Click on the link in the top right hand corner of the page to see photographs from the event by Archant photographer Denise Bradley.

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