Monday, 20 September 2021

Steam rally to play host to 'Elvis'

THE king of rock ?n? roll has been added to the list of attractions at a steam and vintage rally on the Fawley Hill Estate.

THE king of rock ?n? roll has been added to the list of attractions at a steam and vintage rally on the Fawley Hill Estate.

Elvis impersonator Ben Portsmouth will perform at the event on May 18 and 19 in aid of 30 charities.

Singer Vince Hill, from Shiplake, will perform on the Saturday evening and there will be an Abba tribute band, Sam Brown and her ukulele band, choir singers and a big band.

Henley racing driver Sam Brabham, the 18-year-old grandson of three-times Formula 1 champion Sir Jack, will bring his JTR Mygale to display and RAF Benson will bring a Merlin helicopter on the Sunday to exhibit alongside other military vehicles.

On Sunday, a thanksgiving service will take place at the estate?s ?Ironhenge? monument, a place of worship composed of iron columns removed from the undercroft of St Pancras station. Hymns will be played on a fairground organ during the service.

The event is being organised by Lady McAlpine, who lives on the estate with her husband Sir William, and will celebrate the centenary of the Hudswell Clarke 060 Saddle Tank Engine No 31, which has been in the family for all its working life.

Other attractions will include a Hurricane, Spitfire and a Red Arrow, stationary engines, traction engines, horse-drawn ploughs, JCBs, steam cars, Ferraris, buses and boats. There will also be a display by the Red Devils, an auction, car boot sale, a dog show judged by TV presenter Ben Fogle and children?s craft stalls.

The estate?s animal sanctuary and restored railway will be open to visitors, while the station tea room will sell food and drink to raise money for the summer fireworks display in Marlow Road, Henley.

Lady McAlpine said: ?We?ve got an awful lot of lovely old cars and traction engines coming. Vehicles like steamrollers normally don?t come to rallies but we?ve got 15 of them. We will have camel races and still need two more jockeys. It?s across the board and it would be fairer to call it a vintage festival. There?s so much of everything, not just steam.?

Lady McAlpine, who has held family fun days at the estate in the past, said she chose Mr Portsmouth, from Waltham St Lawrence, after seeing him perform at the Little Angel pub in Henley in March. She said: ?I?m not usually keen on people pretending to be people they aren?t but he?s absolutely brilliant ? he IS Elvis.?

The estate will also be open on the Friday evening with entry costing £6.

Entertainment, fairground rides and a bar will be open. A pop-up restaurant will be hosted by Jimmy Garcia from the Wild Food Kitchen in aid of the Chiltern Centre for disabled children in Henley. There is one table available for £85 per person. Tickets for Saturday and Sunday are £10 per day or £16 for the weekend (concessions £8 and £14). Children under 12 enter free.

For more information, call (01491) 571373, email or visit

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