Gaze­bos go and steam en­gine sticks

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - What’s On -

The ef­fects of Hurricane Bertha rav­aged a coun­try fair, de­mol­ish­ing gaze­bos and leav­ing a pow­er­ful steam en­gine stuck on sod­den ground.

Sav­age wind and rain crashed on the Willes­bor­ough Wind­mill an­nual coun­try craft and her­itage fair on Sun­day morn­ing.

Five gaze­bos were wrecked by the gale force gusts.

John White, of event or­gan­is­ers the Friends of Willes­bor­ough Wind­mill (FWW), said: “The wind lifted the sheet­ing of the gaze­bos even though they were nailed down. Five were wrecked.”

The cen­tury-old Burrell en­gine, brought to the event for dis­play, couldn’t climb a slope be­cause the grass was so wet. Vol­un­teers un­hooked its trailer so it could grad­u­ally re­verse back down. Mesh was also placed un­der the wheels to give them more grip.

Mr White said: “It was slip­ping on the grass, like a car on snow. It couldn’t move for­ward at all. The driver was in that sit­u­a­tion for a quar­ter of an hour.”

The weather was so se­vere that stall­hold­ers packed up be­fore the event was half­way fin­ished.

Mr White’s wife Pat, also from FWW, said: “This was an event ruined be­cause of Hurricane Bertha.

“The weather was to­tally ex­treme. The rain was com­ing down hor­i­zon­tally.

“We’ve now of­fered stall­hold­ers free pitches for next year’s event.

“There is noth­ing you can do about the weather.”

Hurricane Bertha had hit the Caribbean on Mon­day last week be­fore dis­si­pat­ing over the At­lantic.

But its stormy rem­nants reached Bri­tain on Sun­day morn­ing, caus­ing chaos in sev­eral parts of the coun­try.

Kent got its share with flood­ing in places such as Sit­ting­bourne.

The en­gine that got into trou­ble at Willes­bor­ough was a steam trac­tion en­gine, the type used for tasks such as road rolling, har­vest­ing and thresh­ing.

Pic­tures: Matt Bris­tow

A steam en­gine gets stuck in the mud while the gaze­bos need se­cur­ing

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