Full steam ahead in Potten End as sun shone down on monster machines

Seven was certainly a very lucky number for the organisers of the annual Dacorum Steam and Country Fayre this weekend, as the event enjoyed its seventh year at the 62 acre Green Croft Farm and welcomed 7,000 visitors through the gates over both days.

The unfavourable weather forecast didn’t seem to discourage people, as families and friends alike turned out to enjoy the varied exhibits and displays organised by the Dacorum Machinery and Steam Preservation Group, all in aid of local charity the Hospice of St Francis.

Louisa Miles and her two children Lillie, 12, and Oliver, five, riding on a model Burrell traction engine

Louisa Miles and her two children Lillie, 12, and Oliver, five, riding on a model Burrell traction engine

Since it began in 2006, the fayre has raised £75,000 for the Northchurch-based hospice, and the group hopes to give them another very good donation this year, though figures have yet to be finalised.

Group member Dawn Bunker said of the event: “It was very, very good. Everyone seemed so happy.

“We were so busy on Saturday, as we were so lucky with the weather.”

The showground in Potten End was teaming with classic cars, military vehicles and motorbikes.

Enthusiasts flocked to see the monster machines, which included 17 steam engines dating back to 1902, more than 100 tractors, a fleet of 18 fire engines and a herd of heavy horses.

Among others, a local roof thatcher and a blacksmith with a mobile forge held demonstrations to the public – some of which had never had the chance to see these age-old processes before.

The hospice’s director of nursing Alison Allard joined Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning in an official opening ceremony at 2pm on the Saturday, but not before they were both transported through the gate , each on a different vehicle – Alison driving the oldest steamroller at the show, and Mike being chauffeured on a Chamberlain tractor.

Alison said: “It was a superbly-organised event and the atmosphere was like one big happy family having a wonderful day out.

“We’re so grateful to the organisers for supporting us and enabling us to continue to care for those with life-limiting illness and provide support for their families, carers and the bereaved.”

When asked if the group were planning to put on an event in 2014, Dawn said: “Most definitely. This year’s event was bigger, and each year it’s growing. We try to keep it interesting.”

“I want to say thank you so much for the support, because we try to put on a show that everyone enjoys – mums, dads, children, grannies, grandads. We do it for them, and for the people that get poorly, so I’m asking them to please support us again next year.