19th March 2016
The 24th Little Downham Bygone & Organ Extravaganza was held at the Village Centre hall on Saturday 19 March, and despite the weather not being as kind as in previous years (chilly & drizzly for part of the time), still managed to draw in a goodly number of visitors during the afternoon. The hall itself was a little different with a new bar-area taking up some of the space and a stage extension also taking up a little bit of room. The bygone exhibitors tried to ring the changes to keep the event fresh with several of the exhibitors bringing different displays.
These included (last year's display in brackets) brass blowlamps (model tractors), equine memorabilia (Pocket watches), model British Road Services yard layout (oil company memorabilia), puncture repair kits (household tins), Fenland skating memorabilia (wartime aircraft with local connections), matchboxes (tobacco tins), bottle openers (Oxo memorabilia), oil tins (Model bubble cars), plus several of the miscellaneous collections mixed up their regular displays a little to give a different emphasis, such as transport-themed teapots instead of the animal theme of last year.
There were half-a-dozen organs outside with approximately the same number of musical instruments inside the hall, including a remote-control Teddy bear interacting with the visitors. There were no large steam or commercials this year but a trio of 'miniatures' were outside including a Darby's liveried Foden scale wagon. Stationary engines included a trio of Rustons from various eras, and Peter demonstrated his road-thumpers again. There were around 8 or 9 motorbikes including a wartime Corgi paratroopers bike, a very nice Singer and another unusual lightweight machine, both developments of the pedal cycle.
There were as few different faces amongst the cars and light commercials, with a few regular faces missing, we trust they are all well. Morris Minors were to the four in several different guises, saloon, Traveller, van & pick-up, with several other British marques such as Ford, Vauxhall, Rover, Austin, Triumph, Wolseley & Land Rover on show. Other than the jeep, the only other non-British vehicle was the more modern and sleek BMW 635 coupe. A nice selection of tractors including Fordson, International, Massey Ferguson, Field Marshall, Nuffield, Allis Chalmers & Ransomes completed the line-up.
Thanks must go to the Brown & Freeman families for their efforts in organising and coordinating the event, together with the willing helpers who man the kitchen, pay desk, entrances and marshalling. With less visitors this year, the raffle was drawn a little earlier, enabling anyone who wanted to to get packed up and away early to watch England win the Six Nations Rugby Grand Slam for the first time since the World Cup-winning year of 2003, two great events on the same day. See you there again in 2017.