Donation to The Hospice of St Francis 2014

October 16, 2014

Sunny skies brought crowds by the thousands to this the eight year of the Dacorum Steam and Country Fayre held to raise vital funds for The Hospice of St Francis.

Vintage Machinery and Heavy Horse enthusiasts along with their families, flocked to the annual charity event, organised by the Dacorum Machinery and Steam Preservation group, the group are just volunteers from the steam fayre scene who give up their time because they want to help the hospice.

“It was a fantastic weekend,” said one of the organisers, Dawn Bunker.  We had 6,500-7,000 visitors at the show and lots of attractions for all age groups, from rides in Thomas the Tank Train to having your photo taken with the Inter Galactic creatures who were wandered the show ground or watching mobile Glass Blowing demo’s, the Birds of Prey who had a fantastic display or enjoy Fengate Forge showing their Blacksmith skills making and then shoeing one of the superb heavy horses that Mike Grayson had organised and just so much more. It was just a great chance for people to enjoy things they don’t normally see such as a hot air balloon being inflated, what an amazing sight. Or just sitting in the sun outside the beer tent with a cold drink enjoying the BURPS Ukulele’s on Saturday,  or the Jolly Jazzers on Sunday…. pure bliss.

Eighteen steam engines dating back to 1902, 104 tractors, 18 fire engines and what a display of heavy horses and mules… all were on show to delight the crowds at the 62-acre Green Croft Farm showground in Potten End. There were also classic cars, military vehicles and motorbikes on display as well as miniature steam vehicle, many with trailers giving rides, live demonstrations by the Fire Brigade, an escapologist and his circus skills workshops.

With this year’s donation of £25,000 the event has now raised £120,000 for Berkhamsted-based charity The Hospice of St Francis since it began in 2006.

The hospice’s Director of Nursing Alison Allard officially opened the show by being driven into the show ring on/in an Alvis Saladin tank, followed by our very own Rt. Hon. Mike Penning MP in a Willys Jeep, Mike was followed in by Deputy Mayor Elect, Cllr. Gbola Adeleke in yet another military vehicle, following up were the three Mules who were giving demo’s on how they worked from WW1 right through until present times in Afganistan. Having the military vehicles and mules involved with the opening ceremony were part of showing our respect for the anniversary of WW1 and WW2 and following the official opening there was a minute’s silence, the Royal British Legion were in attendance with their standard bearer and Mike Penning gave the oratory.

“It was a superbly-organised event and the atmosphere was like one big happy family having a wonderful day out,” said Alison Allard. “There was something for everyone from vintage cars and children’s rides to home-made tea and cake and of course the unmistakable, amazing smell of steam.

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

“We know how much the event has generated and after deducting what is needed to run the event in 2015 we will be donating £25k,” said Dawn. “It’s an amazing charity which provides an incredible service for a huge number of people when they need it most, we’re all very happy to support it.

“We owe a huge thank you to so many people but mostly to farmer Peter Groom who rushes to clear his hay on the 62 acres he freely lends us every year, Peter is also very involved with organising the event.  Thank you also to Peter Brown, Peter lends the cars for the fire brigades demos, he also supplies the boundary fencing and the chaps to erect it, plus much more. Chris Hare for the two PA system’s, Steve from AllGo for freely supplying our skips, also the ladies from Lloyds Bank, Berkhamsted who are invaluable on the paygate, along with the many other volunteers who helped ‘Thank You to You All’. Of course thank you to everyone for coming we are looking forward to seeing you again at next year’s event 25th and 26th July 2015.

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