Saturday, 18 September 2021

Rain didn't dampen spirits at Vintage Festival

Parachuting stuntmen, camel racing and a world record attempt were among the highlights of the Fawley Hill Steam and Vintage Transport Festival

Parachuting stuntmen, camel racing and a world record attempt were among the highlights of the Fawley Hill Steam and Vintage Transport Festival.

Bad weather on Friday and Saturday failed to dampen spirits at the three-day event as thousands of people visited the grounds of the Fawley Hill Estate, the home of Sir William and Lady McAlpine.


This year’s festival was also a celebration of Sir William’s 80th birthday and he was presented with several birthday messages, including a book signed by all the engine drivers invited to the event.

More than 150 Labrador dogs were paraded in the arena as the festival looked to set a new world record for the most Labradors in an open space.

Lady McAlpine, who owns two Labrador, came up with the idea and the event was compered by television presenter Ben Fogle, who himself owns Labradors and has written a book on the history of the breed.

Fogle read out the name of each dog and they were counted by Henley vet Eric D'Arcy-Donnelly.


Among the dogs to take part were Labradors from Australia and New Zealand while special guest Prince Michael of Kent brought along his black Labrador, Shadow.

Each owner paid £10 to enter and the attempt raised about £1,500 which will go to Medical Assistance Dogs.

The festival featured 80 traction engines, in honour of Sir William’s birthday, as well as steam rollers, commercial vehicles, tractors, steam cars, vintage and veteran cars, a military display, tanks and fire engines.

Several vehicles became stuck in the mud and had to be towed out by tractors, while others were brought in and out of the venue on lorries.

The event began on Friday with sheepdog displays, an air display team and a Rock on the Hill concert in the evening featuring DJ Mike Read and Elvis impersonator Ben Portsmouth.

Throughout the weekend visitors could take trips on Sir William’s railway, while Second World War planes including Spitfires and Hurricanes flew over the venue.

There were performances in the “big top” by bands including Annie and the Dough Boys and Sam Brown’s International Ukelele Club of Sonning Common.

On Sunday, the Red Devils parachute regiment display team arrived carrying a Union flag.


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