Charity Trailer Rides

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Charity Trailer Rides – Heavy Haulage Arena

The charity trailer rides at the Great Dorset Steam Fair have become a tradition at the show with the visiting public being able to get up close and personal to the big loads and the many engines & activities which take place in the Heavy Haulage Arena.

A donation from monies raised from the rides is allocated to a designated charity on an annual basis.

GDSF Managing Director, Martin Oliver comments “We are delighted and honoured to be able to make significant donations to worthy local charities from our charity trailer rides each year. We also pay tribute to all the engine men and crews that assist with the rides and the many volunteer helpers without whom it would not be able to function.”

2019 Recipient

Saturday 29th February 2020 Anna Powney, Children & Young People Service Manager for DORSET MIND attended the Annual Great Dorset Steam Fair Dinner Dance at Blandford, as guest of Martin Oliver, Managing Director of the show. Dorset Mind were the popular charity trailer ride benefactors from the 2019 event.

Anna and the function guests were astonished at the incredible amount donated of £17,006.55. Once the vigorous applause died down Anna spoke of the important work the charity does in, “shaping futures and changing lives; a pioneering local charity that has been supporting local people with mental health challenges since 1946. The charity educates, challenges mental health stigma and inequality, and promotes recovery by empowering individuals to develop resilience.”

Martin Oliver explained that this was the first time the show had raised funds for a charity specifically targeting mental health. Martin paid homage to Martin True and family of Cornwall and the work Martin True had done to promote mental health through the True 600 Challenge, in loving memory of his son Ben.

A special thanks as always goes to the volunteers, engine men & woman and everyone who took a ride at the Fair for raising this stunning amount.

2018 Recipient

Sunday 7th October 2018 Cancer surgeon and chair of the MRI Scanner Campaign Graham Branagan headed off to the lovely The Coppleridge Inn near Shaftesbury to meet Mr Martin Oliver of the Great Dorset Steam Fair along with those who supported the Charity Trailer Rides at this year’s Fair. Graham was thrilled to be presented with an absolutely stunning cheque for £18,512.24 towards our MRI Scanner Campaign! Huge thanks to  everyone who took a ride at the Fair for raising this stunning amount towards a second MRI Scanner for local people.

2017 Recipient

Steam engine enthusiasts gathered en-masse at the Coppleridge Inn Motcombe on 9th October 2017 when Great Dorset Steam Fair Managing Director, Martin Oliver presented a cheque for £16,394 to Laura Kelly, Fund Raising Manager for Julia’s House the local children’s hospice which provides practical and emotional support for families caring for a child with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. Laura said, “This contribution represents a truly magnificent effort on behalf of the Great Dorset Steam Fair and will help to provide care and support for our children and their families.”

Mr Oliver said “This is the largest charity cheque we have ever presented and it’s all down to the enginemen and volunteer crews who assisted with the trailer rides for the duration of the show: a truly magnificent effort which we will endeavor to match next year when we celebrate 50 years of the Great Dorset. Also a big thank you to the Coppleridge Inn for hosting the occasion and to Nick Baker for help with the engines.”

2016 Recipients

2016 recipients were the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance which received £10,266 and the Blandford Opportunity Group who received £3,265.

Fund raising co-ordinator for the Air Ambulance Leanne Colverson said, ‘”This cheque represents a significant contribution to our overall money raising efforts and is greatly appreciated.”

Sharon Kervern, group Leader at the Blandford Opportunity Group, a local pre-school for children from birth to 5 years who have been identified as having additional needs said, “This is a magnificent gift from the Great Dorset Steam Fair and will help enormously in our efforts to support young people in the area.”

2015 Recipients

In 2015, the charity trailer rides raised £10,877 for Dorset Macmillan Cancer Support and £4,420 for The Alfie O’Neill Cerebral Palsy Treatment Fund.

The Alfie O’Neill Cerebral Palsy Treatment Fund raises funds for eight-year-old local boy Alfie O’Neil who was born prematurely and suffers from cerebral palsy. Alfie uses a wheelchair, however to help improve his mobility he needs specialist treatment which is not available on the NHS and is fully funded by donations.

Dan O’Neal, Alfie’s father said of the donation received from the Great Dorset Steam Fair “It is a humbling experience being among so many people willing to help our son. My wife Pauline and I are eternally grateful.’

Macmillan fund raising manager for Dorset Chrissie Wathen-Neal said, ‘This is a huge donation which will go a long way to ensuring that Macmillan Cancer Support nurses remain in the front line of cancer care.’


Great Dorset Steam Fair A354, Tarrant Hinton, Blandford Forum DT11 8HX