Sunday, 19 September 2021

Steam rally to mark 50th year with air display

VINTAGE aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are to appear at this year’s Woodcote Rally.

VINTAGE aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight are to appear at this year’s Woodcote Rally.

A Lancaster bomber and Spitfire and Hurricane fighters will fly over the event on July 13 and 14.

They will fly together in formation on the Saturday and the fighters will return to perform aerobatics on the Sunday.

Organisers booked the display to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the rally, which takes place in the fields off Tidmore Lane.

They have expanded the site to cover a neighbouring field this year as they have booked a number of extra attractions.

For the first time, the classic vehicles on display will be grouped by era as well as type.

There will be hundreds of steam engines, tractors and cars from before the Forties all the way up to 1972. There will also be motorcycles, stationery engines and model steam trains.

Beer-lovers will be able to sample ales at the Campaign for Real Ale tent while children can enjoy a play area with a Punch and Judy show and bouncy castle. Entertainment will include live music with brass and steel bands and there will be a wandering fire-eater between performances.

Pilots from the Chiltern Park Aerodrome, near Ipsden, will fly over the field on Saturday and there will be hot air balloons that evening.

Organiser Andy Crockett said: “Although we’ve had aerial displays like wing- walkers in the past, we’ve never booked anything on this scale.

“We’ve been planning it since January last year. We thought it was really important to get some extra things in to celebrate the anniversary.

“We’ve been putting money aside for the past few years to make this one that little bit more special. I think everybody is really looking forward to it — it’s only two months away now and it feels ever so close.”

The first rally, then known as the Woodcote Veteran Transport Rally, was staged as a one-day event in 1964. It was organised by the village hall’s management committee to raise funds for the building’s upkeep and raised £150.

The show was taken over by the Woodcote Charitable Association in 1971 and it became a two-day event in 1974.

It now donates proceeds to causes in the community. It regularly raises more than £20,000 a year and has raised a total of £368,000.

Last year, the rally was cancelled for the first time in its history because heavy rain made the field too boggy to use. The association lost £10,000 as a result.

Mr Crockett said: “It was a big decision not to go ahead with it but it would have been impossible because the ground was so wet.”

Gates open at 10am on Saturday and the rally will be signposted from the A4074. Adult tickets cost £10 each.

Organisers are looking for volunteers to help on the weekend. For more information, call (01491) 680778 or email publicity@woodcote rally.org.uk

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