Preston Park Fire Engine Rally



Click here to watch highlights of the 2017 show



Rally Organisers Fire Appliances gather on the Thursday evening prior to the show 2013



A variety of preserved appliances pumping from the River Tees on the Saturday evening of the event.


Notable Events of 2007 & 2012

One of most memorable events but for all the wrong reasons - the year of 2007 when 'rain stopped play' when just as the show was about to open with the Grand Parade a deluge of rain flooded the field to the extent we had to make the decision to cancel the event for the day.














Although nearly becoming a 'boat rally' exhibitors launched the biggest preserved 'special service' ever seen....





















Numerous pumps & appliances set to work both on the main field & in the camping area to remove 1000's of gallons of standing water enabling the field to recover, the valiant efforts of all concerned allowed us to stage the event the following day.  Many of the campers had to seek alternative accommodation due to the damage to their tents & belongings however even this didn't dampen the spirits of the true enthusiast.


2010 marked the 50th Anniversary of the tragic Cheapside Fire in Glasgow which saw the biggest peacetime  loss of Firefighters.  To commemorate this all our Scottish participants paraded underneath an ex-Glasgow Schoosher & an AEC Turntable Ladder similar to one that was lost at the incident.  The salute was taken by an ex Glasgow Sub Officer.



To celebrate our 25th Anniversary event we managed to stage 25 working jets from a stirrup pump to a TL Monitor down by the River Tees, this time the weather held out for us.















A view of the rally field from a Turntable Ladder & an impressive line up of Dennis Appliances for the Dennis 100th Anniversary.



To celebrate our 30th Anniversary we managed 30 jets against the magnificent backdrop of the Preston Park Aviary.



 Organisers were determined that that the 2012 show would take place &  set up camp as normal on Wednesday evening the 20th June 2012, helpers awoke on the Thursday morning to yet more rain & a 4 day long range forecast for further downpours. Along with the added concern of keeping the main show field n good order for the forthcoming re-launch of Preston Hall Museum following major refurbishment the organisers made the regrettable decision to cancel which became the fate of all other well known English fire shows this year & other major events. 


(showing ground conditions on the field)

As 10 appliances were already in attendance a few including some early stalwart attendees & committee members, permission was granted to hold an exhibitors only display on the Saturday whilst ringing exhibitors on the Thursday to inform them of the decision local fire appliance owners  were invited to the display , it was a welcome boost to find the esteem the event is held in when 40 minutes after been informed of the cancellation our friends from Scotland confirmed they would still be supporting us!

Showing the 20 appliances attending on Saturday 23rd June.

Land Rovers being the only
appliances allowed on
the grass!






The Davison Dynasty










It wouldn't be right to not mention one of our stalwart supporters of the event  -  the late ADO Iain Davison who again had been involved since the early days along with all members of his family some of whoom still support the event & also made the Fire & Rescue Service their careers.  Above left - Iain as a true trucker with Simon & Philip his sons on his knee, hauling 2 appliances & crew to the famous Duxford rally, on board a friends borrowed artic & trailer. His daughter Becky along with Simon follow in their dad's footsteps serving with County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service. Whilst his eldest son Philip serves at both the Fire Section at our original Airport home and as a Retained Duty System fire-fighter at Spennymoor, he continues to help organise the rally along with a new generation of young Davisons!


Here is long standing helper and former North Yorkshire, Leyburn & Colburn Fire-fighter Billy Hustwick demonstrating a 1939 wartime ARP Gundall Tricycle at the Airport back in 1984, his son & daughter Christopher Hustwick and Laura Hustwick-Wilkes are now also a big part of our team.




Some of the organising members appliances parked up in the arena on a Sat evening.















Above left - An early Preston Park shot with 2 longstanding supporters Dave Elms & Gill Sumner.

Above right - Long standing Stockton Borough Council Event Team member the late Derek Batchelor presenting his own award to Brett & Joanne Clayton, which has become an annual award to those who have contributed to the organisation of the event.













Above Left - 2005 saw the return of 'George' Commer Merryweather Fire Engine who won the Best in Show the first 2 rallys held at Teesside Airport, having been restored by another long standing supported of the event the late John Pamenter. ' George' is now owned by John Pedelty.  See photo on the right John with another of his preserved appliances & Gordon Smith.

A classic shot of true rally enthusiasts.....


This early Dennis Rapier first showed its face at Preston Park in 1992 as a brand new appliance however doesn't time fly as it has now moved into preservation & is owned by Nigel Howarth,  once some restoration has been carried out will be entered in future events as a preserved appliance.


ITv filmed a program called 'Big Boys Toys' in 2006 featuring North East collector Dr B.A Hutchinson preparing to attend that years event with part of his collection of fire appliances.

Click on the link below to watch:


Comparing old & new appliances at past events









Rick Loudon's 1957 Dennis F8 Miles alongside 1990's Volvo FL6-Carmichael exhibited on behalf of Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service by long time rally supporter Ronnie Wright.



Display showing the development of Road Traffic Collision Equipment

featuring preserved appliances with their owners showing old equipment with period uniform alongside Cleveland Fire Brigade crews carrying out a modern day Rescue.


2014 Saw the welcome return of EBB 304 a 1937 Leyland FK7 Dual Purpose Appliance seen here on the left alongside it's sister appliance EBB 302 preserved by Tyne & Wear Fire & Rescue Service outside their former station at Pilgrim Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne prior to it's closure.

EBB 304 won Best in Show having driven under it's own power from Carnforth in Lancashire owned by Andy Marshall & family, another volunteer helper of the show.

2015 Saw a trio of preserved appliances travelling in convoy from Aberdeen to attend the event which consisted of;

      Peter McCombie's 1941 Dennis PE, Dennis Scott's 1960 Dennis PE and G.Forbes 1984 Dodge WrL all returned home with a Trophy

We also welcomed 'Safe & Sound' to the event which is a two year collaborative project between, the Museum of Hartlepool, The Head of Steam; Darlington Railway Museum and The Dorman & Captain Cook Museums in Middlesbrough, who aim to widen knowledge especially those relating to Emergency Response in the Tees Valley.

This fits nicely with the Aims of TAFER

               To encourage the preservation and heritage of fire appliances and associated vehicles

and equipment

To educate people in the historical context by relevant displays and exhibitions

To inform and educate audiences whenever possible in respect of fire safety

This also led in 2013 to TAFER as a living museum joining the

Fire Heritage Network UK


2018 overall Winner, Jim Smith's 1896 Shand Mason Steam Fire Pump 'The Welbeck'

which earlier in the year had been identified as taking part in a Centenary parade in Darlington in 1967.