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Rally organisers cancel second day after very bad weather
Devastated organisers of a vintage tractor and steamer rally are counting the cost of a washout weekend.
Heavy rain turned the Bronte Vintage Gathering in Cullingworth into a mudbath, and forced the organisers to yesterday cancel the second day of the two-day event.
Instead, it was all-hands-on-deck as people battled to clear the field, with tractors having to pull the exhibits out of the mud and get them on their way.
The popular gathering, now in its 16th year, donates all proceeds to Manorlands hospice in Keighley, and has so far raised about £320,000.
This year’s event was set to raise a further £30,000 for the charity, but organisers now expect to have lost money.
Farmer Robert Thompson, who hosts the event at his farm, and is the vice-chairman of the organising committee, said it was the first cancellation in the gathering’s history.
Speaking from the middle of the swamped field yesterday, he said: “I had to call it this morning. It’s just a mudbath, an absolute mudbath. It will have cost us an arm and a leg, and we are doing it for a charity.
“It just absolutely teemed it down, it was running like a river down the field. As for the field itself, I don’t know what I’m going to do with it.
“It is just heartbreaking.”
Attractions on Saturday included classic vehicles, stalls, a stunt show and live bands.
Mr Thompson said the day had gone well, with mountain and motorbike stunt legend Jez Avery and the band Night Patrol both proving particularly popular with the crowds.
But he said the rain meant the turn-out wasn’t what they had hoped for and conditions took a turn for the worse overnight.
He said they suffered another set-back when motorists started complaining about mud on the roads and one even called the police.
But Mr Thompson said team spirit prevailed and people put in a mammoth effort to get the field cleared, with the driver of a road sweeper lending a hand on his day off to get the road clean.
He said: “We have tried really hard. There are four of us stood here who are all wet through. We are all covered in mud. Everybody has rallied through. It’s just a shame the way the weather has beaten us. I suppose we will have to try again for next year.”