Steam rally site hit by arson attack

PUBLISHED: 13:43 18 June 2009 | UPDATED: 21:36 07 July 2010

Organisers of one of Norfolk's biggest steam rallies hit by an arson attack earlier this month have said the show will still go on as work to clear-up the damage continues.

Organisers of one of Norfolk's biggest steam rallies hit by an arson attack earlier this month have said the show will still go on as work to clear up the damage continues.

Vintage carts and wagons and chairs and tables used for the public to sit on at the two-day Weeting Steam Rally were destroyed in the blaze at Fengate Farm near the village.

Already spare chairs have been donated to organisers of the show, due to run from July 17 to 19, to help seat spectators.

But Richard Parrott, who has run the event since he was 28, 41 years ago, said there was still a lot of mess to clear up and work to do.

However, he said the show would still go on and appealed to village halls that had any chairs they didn't want to get in touch.

"It is a lot for a once-a-year event to cope with," he said. "All the chairs we used are burned and gone.

"We are going to start sawing boards to make tabletops and benches for people to sit on around the ring.

"We've picked up 15 to 20 chairs a year and need to make about 100. Whether we shall or not, it's only a month away."

Everything lost in the blaze had been collected over the years. One was a cart made by J Roots of Dereham from the turn of the last century.

Mr Parrott put the cost of the damage at £15,000 to £20,000. Included in the wreckage were carts owned by his late wife, Sheila.

Other Victorian carts were irreplaceable, he said.

"They were all horse-drawn wagons, some owned by my late wife," he said.

"A lot of the chairs were plastic with metal legs and each one has to be picked up but we can't use them."

The last fire the show had was in 1983 when grass was set alight in the car park.

It sparked the Parrotts to buy an ex-service fire engine, which has since come into use putting out fires at the site.

But, unfortunately, they couldn't get to the fire quick enough as it broke out late at night on June 7.

Six fire engines were called to the blaze but the first thing Mr Parrott knew about it was at 6.20am when firefighters knocked on his door to get more water for their tender.

Because of gas cylinders in the barn it had also spread to a nearby box trailer. Police have said the blaze is being treated as arson.

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