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Magnettes and Steam, 4th April 2015

The first Magnette event of the UK season on 4th April was somewhat overshadowed by the sad news that Lou Shorten had passed away the previous day, and many of those present had known Lou or at least spoken to her when buying spares. Nevertheless, as they say, the show must go on.

This was the first Magnettes & Steam since Alan Slack retired as organizer, after running many successful events. I stepped temporarily into his shoes with some trepidation, but actually Alan had already made the initial contact with Hollycombe Steam Collection, near Liphook in Hampshire, so my duties were fairly light. The administrator at Hollycombe was very helpful in suggesting the approximate numbers they could accommodate and agreeing a useful discount on normal entry price for Register visitors. As usual there was no need for advance booking, always an important consideration when some owners might wish to ‘wait and see’ what conditions are like on the day.

In total there were 20 Magnettes, including Andy Brock’s Farina, a respectable number for this event judging by previous years, and particularly considering the cool and unsettled weather - some rain had been forecast, although it didn’t materialize. We were given a reserved grass area with plenty of space for the Magnettes and the 4 or 5 other classic cars that attended. Jeffrey and Rosalind Bridges brought their impressive Wolseley 6/90, as they’re still getting the Magnette back on the road, and it was interesting to see well-used Z’s in various states of preservation/restoration rather than just a row of totally perfect examples.

The cold easterly wind wasn’t conducive to standing around the cars for long, so instead most headed for the cafe and the steam attractions. It was good to see more children attending this year, including John and Cynthia’s granddaughter, and it’s to be hoped the trend will continue. Hollycombe isn’t a preserved railway as such, having been built from scratch, but it includes a narrow-gauge railway, beam engine, fairground rides and traction engines, all powered by steam, so plenty to occupy kids, and indeed the average Magnette owner who likes anything old...In fact steam buffs will get a double treat this year, as we also have an event at Buckinghamshire Rail Centre on 12 July - more details from John Harris.

text by Stephen Tickell, photos by Stephen Tickell and Cynthia Harris

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