It was in 1971 that the Haddenham Sports & Social Club approached village resident Stan Burgess with a view to holding a steam rally.
Stan put the club in touch with the East Anglian Traction Engine Club (EATEC). A joint committee was put in place and the first event was held on the 4th & 5th September that year.
The 1st rally had 26 steam engines, 5 motorcycles, 2 cars, 3 tractors, 7 models, 5 Organs, a bygones marquee, a village fair and the Downes families steam driven gallopers.
The next rally was held in 1974, this followed by a 3rd show in 1976, from then onwards the rally has been run annually. The original site of the rally was on the opposite side of the A1421, closer to the Sutton Road.
1976 saw Haddenham welcome its first Celebrity Guest, the page 3 model Nina Carter. She was followed by the actress Anne Kirkbride in 1980. Other guests over the years have included Helen Worth, Patrick Anthony, Melanie Hill, Beverley Callard, Peter Shilton, Katie Hill, Derek Martin and folk legends The Wurzels in 2008.
In 1978, the rally moved to its present site of the old brickworks on Station Road. The "Clay Pits" as it is known hosts 3 lakes and the site now covers approx 100 acres.
In 1983 Kelvin Young was elected as Rally Chairman, a position that he still holds today. Kelvin had been Stationary Engine & Vintage Tractor Steward since 1979, replaced Kevin Swann.
Until 1996 the Rally was still run on behalf of EATEC & the Haddenham Sports & Social club. The rally committee decided it needed to run independently of both organisations. This decision has enabled the rally to help many more local clubs & charities. The rally still has close links to its founding clubs.
The rally celebrated its 35th Anniversary in 2008, and is still going strong raising money for many local and national charities. The event now attracts exhibitors from all over the country, and includes over 600 exhibits from a bygone age.
For over 25 years the event has been an authorised National Traction Engine Trust rally and as such follows the Trust's Rally Organisers code of practice. The NTET is an 'Authorising Body' under the terms of the Motor Vehicles (off road events) Regulations 1995.
2009 saw significant changes to the organising committee including the retirement of two longstanding members. Robert Pumfrey was one of the founding members of the rally and served 35 years on the committee as Steam Secretary. Robert's position on the committee has been filled by local steam engine owner Matthew Peacock (Marshall TE 52435 "Iron Horse"). Denise Young stood down as Rally Secretary, being replaced by her daughter-in-law Ruth Young. Denise will continue in her roles as Treasurer & Craft Marquee organiser. Trevor Hodge was elected to the committee, and Terry Young was elected to the position of Vice Chairman, taking over from Robert Pumfrey.
2011 saw the rally become a charity in its own right (Charity No. 1140973). Its object being "To advance the education of the public by increasing the knowledge of and interest in historical road going and other steam engines, historical agricultural equipment nad machinery and other traditional country activities"
The rally celebrated its 40th Anniversary in 2013. Which included the return of steam engine Earl Haig, the rallies former flag ship engine. The 40th show had the following exhibits 45 Steam Engines, 30 steam models, 7 fair organs, 170 vintage tractors, 300 vintage vehicles, 108 stationary engines, 27 bygones displays, over 40 heavy horses and a bygones tent.
No rally was held in 2020 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Haddenham Steam Rally
A1421, Sutton Road,
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