THOUSANDS were drawn to the Heddington and Stockley Steam Rally at the weekend thanks to the beautiful sunshine and the unmistakable sounds and smells of old steam engines.

Vintage tractors, steam traction engines, military vehicles and fairground rides made the rally a fun family day out for all.

As well as your classic displays there were demonstrations, dancing sheep, and a jester who walked around juggling on stilts and put on a nail-biting show when he juggled chainsaws in front of a shocked crowd.

Despite the crowds being noticeably less thanks to the world cup and some not being able to handle the heat, chairman Jerry Field said this has been one of the best rallies they’ve ever held.

“I think this was possibly the best ever rally we have had here, it was great,” he explained.

“From all the comments we had back, everyone was really happy with the show. They all thanked us, asking if they could come back again.

"We had nothing but positive feedback.

"The first rally was in 1976 so it has been going 42 years, and we had more steam engines this year than there has ever been.

"We had 22 large steam engines and 17 minis. It is something we are really pleased about and it means we are well recognised in the circuit.

“We could have asked for the weather to be slightly cooler but other than that it was fantastic.

"We were slightly down on people coming through the gate in comparison to last year. Probably because on Saturday we had the world cup quarter final so that had an impact on numbers.

"The weather was also so hot a number of people who normally come didn’t. Elderly people and people with young kids probably didn’t come because it was so hot and the rally is out in an open field with no shade.”

Among the attractions was the oldest motorcycle on show a 1916 Triumph type H owned by Chippenham’s Jeremy Joiner.

He said;” This motorcycle has been in the family for over 50 years. It belonged to my grandfather Joe Turner and was used in active service during the war as a despatch bike.”

In the steam line up was a 1917 Mann steam patching roller now belonging to retired pharmacist, Chris Wood of Beckington

He said:” As a young man I always wanted to be an engineer, but my Father insisted I went into Pharmacy. The first thing I did when I retired was to buy a steam vehicle and now I enjoy working restoring it “.

Retired Bank manager John Brewer had a similar story.

He said: "I spent my working life wearing a suit and white shirt. Now I can enjoy getting stuck into my new hobby getting dirty renovating my third size steam engine."

On a smaller scale was Melksham’s Andy Startain who had a line up of Model Steam engines all in steam.  He said: “My parents bought me a model as a young man and I’ve been collecting these over the past 40 odd years. All these I have bought as broken models and I enjoy repairing them and restoring them to their showroom condition."

Now the show is all packed up for another year, the rally committee have some well deserved time off before they regroup to begin plans for next time.