The Witheridge St. John Fayre, 23rd June 2018

Text by Michael Coleman; photos by Jill Horwood.

Two members of the Mid Devon Tractor, Engine and Machinery Group, Steven Williams and Michael Coleman, were invited by the organising committee to participate with their vintage tractors (1963 Fordson Dexta and 1963 Fordson Major) in the Parade of the St John’s Fayre at Witheridge on 23 June. Leaving Coleford they made their way via Newbuildings and Cann’s Mill to Thelbridge and then on to Witheridge to meet the other mechanised entrants in the parade. These included two vintage tractors from South Molton and two local Witheridge ones, plus an enormous new, state-of-the-arts New Holland from Witheridge Garage (compared to which all the vintage tractors looked like toys – even though, in their day, they had also been ‘the bee’s knees’!).

Parading slowly through the town in what by then was searing heat gave the drivers the opportunity to wave to all the spectators and to appreciate how fortunate they were to be taking part in an event that had begun by Royal Charter granted in 1248 by Henry III. The Parade also included some vintage cars, the fire engine, dancers and school children, with other participants in the Fayre including the North Devon Pipe Band, the Tiverton Majorettes and Crediton Town Band. Thence to the Parish Hall, where the tractors parked for the afternoon in the scorching heat of the Summer of 2018 and were visited and the tractors inspected by lots of friendly people including local friends. At the end of the afternoon, they set off for home having thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of being part of such a wonderful, historic event. We were very grateful to the committee for the invitation.