Starting Handle Club set for biggest-ever show at Marsham this weekend

Starting Handle Club show at Marsham last year. Peter Goodyear on a Massey Harris hay rake Picture:

Starting Handle Club show at Marsham last year. Peter Goodyear on a Massey Harris hay rake Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Slow you down Bor! It's time to take life at the pace of yesteryear as north Norfolk prepares for one of the biggest vintage machinery events in East Anglia.

More than 500 exhibitors have booked to bring their beloved tractors, stationary engines and other machine curios to the seventh Starting Handle Club Show this weekend.

And, for the first time, sales will be allowed so that anyone wanting to take up the hobby, or add to their collection, will be able to snap up a bargain.

The annual Marsham event has snowballed each year and Bob Parke, on whose property it is held, is delighted that neighbouring farmer Stuart Taylor has agreed to let the show expand onto five acres of his land, increasing the total site to 13 acres.

'We were bursting at the seams last year,' said Mr Parke. 'This means we can show everything on grass.'

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Among other new attractions this year will be mini-tractor pulling, alongside the ever-popular large version of the skill.

Bar-stool games - carried out in tractors fitted with bar stools instead of seats - will be making a popular return after the attraction was given its UK debut at the show last year.

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And daredevil pilot Lauren Richardson will also be back, performing aerobatics in her modified Pitts Special bi-plane.

On Saturday at 5pm there's a chance to board a trailer and get a tow through the local countryside as the annual tractor road run takes to the lanes.

Back at the site, singer and musician Paula MacAskill will entertain, while on Sunday the Smoke House Blue marching jazz band will perform.

In the display ring sheep dogs and gun dogs will take their turn to star, alongside vehicles of all shapes, ages and sizes.

And there will also be a chance to see the former First World War airstrip, on Mr Parke's land, used as a dispersal field during the conflict. Period artefacts will be on display and the Spirit of Coltishall Association will have its Jaguar flight simulator in operation.

Each year profits from the show are presented to a number of good causes, including the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Last year £6,000 was given away.

? The show takes place at Orchard Cottage, 7 Allison Street, Marsham, near Aylsham, NR10 5PJ. It is open from 9am until late on Saturday, and 9am-5pm on Sunday. Entry is £5. Children under 15 free. There is plenty of parking on site.

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