High Weald Rally with an international flavour!

Posted by Chris Graham on 21st August 2023

We report on this year’s High Weald Rally which, together with many other attractions, welcomed an enthusiastic contingent from France.

High Weald Rally

High Weald Rally: The Searle’s, with major boiler work by the crèche team, 1910 Burrell No. 3245 Gold Medal End-To-End looked the part at the show. (Pic: Peter Love)

With 47 engines here, loads going on and a good crowd enjoying the great atmosphere on both days, it was action all the way at Danehill, in East Sussex, June 17th-18th, with a number of vehicles not seen before on show. 

High Weald Rally

More gifts and exchanges including the Sussex insignia – remember, June 16th was ‘Sussex Day’ – instigated by Richard, the Bishop of Chichester, back in the 13th century. (Pic: Peter Love)

Besides the steamers, there was an excellent mixed selection of vintage and classic tractors, with a group of over 30 people and their tractors coming from Gournay-en-Bay, in Normandy, France, via the Newhaven ferry to join in with the fun. In fact, the French town is twinned with Hailsham, in East Sussex, and the effort that went into organising the event by the Lewes twinning association, and Annie Guerlotté and Wai Lin, president and secretary respectively of the Gournay en Bray twinning association, was second to none. Without the enthusiastic efforts these two wonderful women, none of this would have started back in 2019.

Joint rally organiser Ian Langley welcomes the French party to the event. (Pic: Peter Love)

In the special marquee at 1pm we were greeted with speeches from Peter Bradbury, chairman of West Sussex County Council, Imogen Makepeace, Deputy Mayor of Lewes and Lewes MP, Maria Caulfield, who later was seen driving a styled Allis-Chalmers WF vintage tractor around the site, and Howard Venters, chairman of the local Chailey Classic & Vintage Tractor Club. Howard, along with his ‘batman’, Ian Hutchinson, had done so much for the French contingent.

The map of the journey that Passion Tractors Gournay-en-Bray Club undertook. (Pic: Peter Love)

The French club responded with speeches through Philippe Vesey Holt, the interpreter, lead by the president of the Passion Tracteur Collection, Gournay-en-Bray Club, Michel Arnoult, along with Aline Boucher and Didier Bourgeois, secretary and treasurer of the PTC. On behalf of the show organisers, Ian Langley welcomed them all to the show, and told them to have a good time along with the many exhibitors here. 

With new firebox stays and rebuilt mudhole doors and studs the ex-Italian 2.5hp Marshall portable was working well. (Pic: Peter Love)

All-in-all, the French contingent clearly felt very welcome at the event, and had a great time with evening music supplied by Howard Venters’ band. Thanks must go to Adrian Vaughan who wasn’t at the show on most of the Saturday, as he took one of the French party to sort out his prescription out that led to much driving around, phone calls and more, with a positive outcome in the end. 

High Weald Rally

Ward La France heavy haulage was all part of the excellent High Weald Rally, and came from marque specialiasts Green Barn Services. The rally is that good it needs an extra field or two. (Pic: Peter Love)

The overseas party was sorry to leave the show and head back to France, but invited us all to visit their show next year.

This report comes from the latest issue of Old Glory, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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