PICTURE GALLERY: Bressingham Steam Museum celebrates 50 years

A weekend of chugging traction engines and whistling locomotives was enjoyed by families at a south Norfolk attraction which is celebrating its 50th birthday.

Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens, near Diss, lit up its eclectic collection of steam-powered vehicles to commemorate its golden anniversary.

The site was purchased by Alan Bloom in 1946 but it was not until March 1961 when the horticulturist bought his first traction engine, named Bertha, which still enjoys a home at the museum.

Until his death in 2005, Mr Bloom's steadily grew his collection of engines and added narrow gauge railways turning the gardens of the small Bressingham estate into a homage to his interest for the bygone age of steam.

From being open just one week in summer, the museum and gardens are now open 50 days a year, including daily between Easter and October.

Alastair Baker, duty team manager, who has worked at Bressingham Steam Museum and Gardens for about 20 years, said Mr Bloom would be thrilled to still see people enjoying the site today.

'Most people come and come back again. It's a unique place to work. Whenever you get a bit stressed you can go and walk in the gardens. We are a small team of people who are very dedicated to preserving Alan's legacy,' said Mr Baker.

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'Alan is still very much missed. He was not a purist who only collected one type of locomotive. Here's it's an eclectic mix. His whole idea was to create a place for family fun.'

Further celebrations will take place on June 25 and 26, when a special 50th anniversary weekend is planned. There are also plans for a locomotive to be named Bressingham in the summer.

For more information, call 01379 686900 or visit www.bressingham.co.uk

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