24th March 2018
The 26th Little Downham Organ & Bygone Extravaganza may be the last organised by Trevor who has been the main organiser with support from his family since the show's I caption, but hopefully the next generation may step forward to continue the hard work raising money for Magpas who have been the show's main beneficiary for as long as I can remember. A minute's silence was held in memory of Reg Brown, a long-standing supporter of the show and stalwart. The show followed the same format as last year with the tractors, some 15 in total, on the green in front of the village school, just a few yards away from the village hall.
There were the usual mix of Ferguson, Nuffield, John Deere, Farmall with just a single Ford, Oliver & Bristol crawler. Joining them were a couple of stationary engines and a pair of road-thumpers. Back in the village hall yard, there were perhaps a score of cars and light commercials, a nice manageable number which meant the yard was not too crowded. The most popular choice was the Morris Minor with half-a-dozen on show, including saloons, travellers and a pick-up truck. It was good to see the very similar Ford Consul & Zodiac almost side-by-side. Apart from the Chevrolet pick-up, the most modern vehicle on display was the smart BMW coupe.
There was a reasonable section of vintage & classic motorbikes with the Scott Flying Squirrel the oldest, roaded from Wisbech for the day to bed in a new clutch in readiness for a road-trip to France in the coming weeks. The bright yellow Norzuki was out again, supported by Triumph, Norton, and my personal favourite, the BSA GT50, a smart little bike. Just around the corner, a selection of pedal cycles was on show from the March veteran cycle club. Out on the road, the steam contingent was pretty much the same as last year, one full-size, the scale Darby-livered Foden steam lorry and a couple of miniature steam engines.
Inside the hall, the bygone & model displays filled all available tables with a couple of new faces, representing the Monks Eleighy Bygone & Collectors Club. The transport-themed teapots were back, as well as the 2-gallon petrol cans, skating memorabilia, Tilley lamps and bottle-openers, but we had different displays of blowlamps, haberdashery collectables, stoneware bottles, Suffolk brewery collectables, horse brasses and paraffinalia to look at. Model-wise, Pat brought along his version of Tony Knowles Foden Twin-load for show me, which ended up on display, and drew a couple of interested enquiries.
The 4-axle rigid with shortened load-bed and single-axle trailer using a fifth-wheel coupling at the back of the lorry was an attempt to get around the second man required by law at the time for a drawbar trailer outfit. Being classed as an articulated design, it could run with just the driver but allowed the trailer to be dropped and the motive unit to deliver a separate load. Unfortunately, the design didn't catch on and not many were put into service, and very few survivors are known.
Elsewhere around the room, Charlie's large-scale lorries were on show again, as well as a collection of John Deere models, a collection of steam models and outside some working Meccano. The mega raffle lasted just under the hour this time and was followed by a buffet tea for exhibitors and helpers.