MORE than 3,500 people attended a fete in Fawley on Sunday.
The event was hosted by Sir William and Lady McAlpine on their Fawley Hill estate to raise money for the village church and other causes.
It had been due to take place on Father’s Day but was postponed due to bad weather.
A number of the exhibitors had been due to be at the Woodcote Steam Rally in July, which was cancelled for the same reason.
The highlights for many visitors were a steam train giving rides and Sir William’s train museum.
Other attractions included a fairground carousel, a Punch and Judy show, safari rides around the estate and a children’s Olympics.
A hog roast, sausages, burgers, salad bar and cream teas were all available while some visitors chose to bring a picnic. There was also a children’s farmers’ market, which sold home-grown produce.
Lady McAlpine said she was pleased with the attendance, adding: “My husband and I love having people here — that is what it is for.
“We have had amazing help and people coming from outside the village and it is wonderful that everyone is so kind but there is a lot of work involved and the trouble is it is always the same people helping out. We need new blood.”
TV presenter Ben Fogle, who has a home in Fawley, judged the dog show with Henley vet Erik D’Arcy Donnelly. He said: “It is so important to bring local communities together to raise money for charities while enjoying yourself.
“It is a chance for people to get to know each other, share their experiences and have a fantastic day out. My little boy absolutely loves trains so anything to do with them is his idea of heaven.”
Lady McAlpine apologised for a problem with the train which led to three people suffering tiny scorch marks. She said: “The little steam engine which came to replace ours had run up and down the track very happily for a week but seemed to have trouble on its second run of the day.
“It transpired that a brake on one of the waggons had locked on, causing the poor little engine to go into overdrive, throwing out sparks in all directions.
While passengers are always warned that sparks are a risk with steam engines, we rarely see even a small scorch mark. The powers that be deemed it unwise to send the little engine down the hill again in case it threw out sparks and all following trains were pulled by the diesel engine.”
The three visitors were checked by a paramedic on site and didn’t require hospital treatment.