Steam society appeals for help to survive

MHBG-03-07-14 Banbury Steam Rally'Banbury Steam Rally at Bloxham.'Pictured: Tractors'Picture by Lucy Ford NNL-140628-220923009
MHBG-03-07-14 Banbury Steam Rally'Banbury Steam Rally at Bloxham.'Pictured: Tractors'Picture by Lucy Ford NNL-140628-220923009

Banbury’s 50-year-old steam society is fighting to keep its famous rally going after an exodus of event volunteers.

Robbie Robinson, Banbury Steam Society’s vice president, is appealing for new blood to join the organisation at a critical meeting at the Broughton and North Newington Social Club on Tuesday at 8pm.

Meanwhile, the newly-created Banbury Rally @ Bloxham Ltd committee has promised it does not wish to impede the society holding its event and will hold a new rally at a different location on a different day.

“The future of the rally will depend on whether leaders of the sections choose to go with the new organisation. We need about 30 and a new chairman and so we appeal to new volunteers to come along to Tuesday’s meeting,” said Mr Robinson. Joel Broad is co-leaders of the new rally company.

He said: “We were originally voted onto the committee to sort out the rally and keep it going. We rebranded it and made a success of it but our volunteer group was not willing to continue being ‘micro managed.

“We will be running a rally, this year if possible, and we’re negotiating with two different venues. The rally has really outgrown the Milton Road venue – there are 15,000 visitors and 2,000 caravans.”

The rally has attracted traction engines, steam machinery, military vehicles, lawnmowers, commercial vehicles and bygones from all over the UK over 49 years.