Steaming along at a gentle pace

Ian ClarkeThere's little doubt Bill Bird would have been really proud if he had seen the old gems steaming past.A procession of steam powered vehicles from a roller to a home-built steam car to a Thetford-built Burrell showman's road loco are winding their way around the North Norfolk countryside in a tour in memory of the man behind one of the region's favourite nostalgia events.Ian Clarke

There's little doubt Bill Bird would have been really proud if he had seen the old gems steaming past.

A procession of steam powered vehicles from a roller to a home-built steam car to a Thetford-built Burrell showman's road loco are winding their way around the North Norfolk countryside in a tour in memory of the man behind one of the region's favourite nostalgia events.

Mr Bird - who died in December 2007 - was one of the founders of the Tunstead Trosh, which taught thousands of people about traditional farming techniques.

He also had a huge collection of vintage and classic tractors and steam engines.


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The North Norfolk Steam Tour - organised by the East Anglian Traction Engine Society - set out from the Thursford Collection, near Fakenham, on Saturday morning and on Monday will go past Mr Bird's former home at Tunstead.

He died from lymphoma and the tour is raising money for the Lymphoma Association.

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Ollie Owen, society vice chairman, said: 'Billy Bird was a great engineman at Tunstead and we thought we should do something in his memory. These vehicles are built to go on the road and they should be on the road.'

On Saturday the tour went from Thursford to the North Norfolk Railway terminus at Holt for an overnight stop.

On Sunday they went via Aylsham and the Bure Valley Railway to Scottow and they will finish at the Strumpshaw Steam Museum on Monday.

The vehicles ranged from 80-100 years old and were from around East Anglia.

The Thursford Collection has more than 40 steam engines and was set up by the late George Cushing.

His son John now runs the museum and the ever popular Christmas Spectacular and saw the tour leave.

'It is nice to have some live steam here and my father would be proud to see them.'

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