The rally originated back in 1981 after Sub Officer Steve Ferry a serving Petroleum Officer with North Yorkshire Fire Brigade, suggested to fellow Fire-fighter and Preservationist Brett Clayton of Darlington, the idea of holding a Fire Engine Rally in the North East, similar to events in the south of the country especially as the only northern event held by the Yorkshire Fire Museum at Batley had come to an end due to the loss of land adjacent to the museum.
It was decided to give it a try, as serving Fire-fighters it was decided to include modern appliances and help raise funds for the then Fire Services National Benevolent Fund, FSNBF now the Fire-fighters Charity.
As both organiser's lived in Darlington and with the area bordering two other counties, North Yorkshire and Cleveland it was considered as a suitable venue for the event, as Tees-side Airport had also recently become the home of the Civil Aviation Authority Fire Service Training School having relocated from Stanstead and also having its own Fire Section it was decided to contact the Airport, which received favorable support from both the Airport, CAA and Local Brigades.
Entry forms were distributed to appliance owner’s and hence on the 3rd & 4th July 1982 the first Tees-side Airport Fire Engine Rally was held welcoming over 30 preserved appliances and 10 operational appliance’s from both Local Authority and Aviation including the RAF.
The Sunday also hosted the Yorkshire Fire Museum hose humping championships, the last time it was run!
The event continued to be held at the Airport although it moved to the Football pitches opposite the Fire Training School until 1988 when after the erection of a boundary fence for the Airport divided the site, having been supported by exhibits from Stockton Museum Services it was suggested to join forces with a car rally already held at Preston Park, so in 1989 we joined forces with Tees-side Yesteryear Motor Club, where the event has been held ever since supported by Stockton Borough Council Events Team. The Motor Club decided to concentrate in organising the car section at the new Duncombe Park Steam Rally in 1993.
Over the years the Rally has been supported from Fire & Rescue Services from around the UK including, Highland & Islands, Grampian, Central Region and Strathclyde from Scotland who now all come under the umbrella of Scottish Fire & Rescue Service as of April 2013
Cumbria, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Cheshire, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, Cleveland, County Durham & Darlington, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Bedfordshire.
Industrial Brigades have also supported the event including ICI now Sempcorp, Hartlepool Power Station and British Aerospace.
We have also been visited by fellow preservationists from Southern Ireland see
Many thousands of pounds have been raised for the Fire-fighters Charity and other emergency related charities including, Burns Units, RNLI, Mountain Rescue and more recently regular donations to the Great North Air Ambulance.
The event continues to be organised by both serving & retired members of the local Fire & Rescue Services coordinated by Stockton Borough Council Events Team.
We are extremely grateful to all those that have helped organise the event over the years, there are still a few fools that still give there time since that first event!
A proud tribute to the event is the number of young people who attended as children to help who are now serving members of the Fire & Rescue Services and other emergency services.
A mention must be giving to all our helpers and exhibitors who sadly are no longer with us!
Original program cover from the first event.
How things have changed the first war time display with all red NFS Appliances
Believe it or not this was an operational display by Cleveland & Durham County Fire Brigades using appliances & vehicles which are now preserved in their own right!
Dennis Scott & crew proudly show the 'Best
in Show' award & 'Furthest Travelled Shield'
alongside their 1960 Dennis F26 Pump Escape
which made the trip under its own power from
Aberdeen in 1986, 87 & 88. Dennis returned in 2015