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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Special 20th anniversary classes & reviving some of the first-ever exhibits at Newark

The 20th year of the Newark Vintage Tractor and Heritage Show is on course to attract the most diverse range of machines in its history. That is thanks to some special anniversary classes and a display reviving some of the first-ever exhibits.

Looking forward to the event is local farm contractor and vintage tractor collector Paul Ducksbury, who has been involved in the show since the start, living just 14 miles north of the Newark showground.

Paul says: “Little did we know what a success the show would become when we were planning the first one in 2003; it’s gone from strength to strength.

“The George Stephenson Hall was added to the facilities in 2006; then tractors from other shows were nominated in a ‘People’s Choice’ class, creating a really diverse range of exhibits.”

“Now, two decades later, the event is seen as the pinnacle of the year – the highlight at the end of the season.”

For Paul, one of the most memorable classes in the event’s history was ‘100 years of Fordson’ in 2017, to which he took 34 tractors.

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“The first Fordson was built in the US in 1917, and manufacture this side of the Atlantic started just two years later in 1919 in Ireland, before moving to Dagenham in 1923. Having the whole range on display in 2017 was quite a sight,” he says.

Adaption of a Minneapolis-Moline tractor

Another favourite exhibit of his was a unique adaption of a Minneapolis-Moline tractor which he saw on display in 2004.

“It wasn’t the original tractor, but two tractors joined together by the owner John Hayward of Bilsthorpe near Newark, to give it four-wheel drive and 100hp.”

“The Minneapolis-Molines were only manufactured for a short time in the UK between 1946 and 1949, so it was an unforgettable sight.”

Restoring 

While Paul lives close to the show, it also attracts regular competitors from further afield.

One such example is the Reid family, who run a hydraulic engineering business in Arbroath, some 350 miles from the site – yet, they are keen enthusiasts who have made the journey to Newark every year since the show started.

In 2003, Neil Reid took a 1970 David Brown 880 Selectamatic and won ‘best David Brown’ and the ‘Concours 1965-78 Classic’.

The tractor has returned many times over the years, winning the ‘Heritage Machinery Shield’ in 2007 and ‘best David Brown’ again in 2011 – and it is making a triumphant return this year to feature in the 20th-anniversary display.

International Farmall H

Another vehicle which is returning to the showground after its first appearance at the very first show is an International Farmall H, owned by Dan Bartle.

“This tractor was bought by Joseph Camm Farms, Retford in 1948 and used as their main tractor for specialist row crop work in the springtime,” explains Dan.

“After many years of service, the tractor was loaned out to the local agricultural museum and put on show to the public.”

“After a few years, the museum unfortunately closed, leaving the tractor abandoned. The original owners contacted me and my uncle in 1998 to rescue the tractor, along with a Fordson N tractor which the farm owned too.

“Both tractors were recovered and restoration began,” he notes.

“My uncle restored the International Farmall, replacing many parts as well as importing the correct replacement tyres from the USA.”

“He took this tractor to a lot of local rallies including the first Newark tractor show in 2003. I inherited this tractor back in 2022 and now have both tractors.”

Another show stalwart contributing to the anniversary this year is James Hardstaff, a farmer from just north of Nottingham. He, too, is bringing a tractor that featured in the very first show.

“It was a prize-winner then – a 1954 Fordson Major County Four Drive.”

“I originally bought it from a scrap yard just south of the Dartford Tunnel back in 1998,” he says. “It took me four years to restore, so then I showed it during the 2003 season, ending up at the first vintage tractor show at Newark.”

“I am pleased to be bringing it back this year for the 20th anniversary display.”

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