Rally funds kickstart fire museum extension

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Sharing the fundraising spoils were (from left) Plains Rotary classic rally organiser Owen Moore, Ashburton fire chief Alan Burgess and fire museum chairman Dave Eddington, in front of a 1889 Shand Mason horse-drawn steamer - a working exhibit which is one of many on show at the Ashburton Fire Museum.

The Ashburton Fire Museum is using a $5000 donation, given to them by Rotary Club of Ashburton Plains, to kickstart a fund to extend the building and make way for more exhibits.

Fire museum members are looking to extend the rear of the building by adding an additional two bay section – on the Maronan Road side – measuring 9m x 18m. It will enable them to house more exhibits, many of which were stored elsewhere at the moment or were being built by talented members and locals.

Among items being reproduced was a Shand Mason manually operated pump, which preceded the horse-drawn 1889 Shand Mason steamer on show in the museum.

The steamer, christened the Pride of Ashburton, was purchased new by the Ashburton Volunteer Fire Brigade. The last major fire it attended was at the former Majestic Theatre (where the Ashburton Trust Event Centre stands) on Wills Street in 1937.

The Plains Rotary donation was raised by their recent classic car run held at the beginning of the Wheels Week programme. It drew in 150 cars.

Rally organiser Owen Moore said fire museum volunteers had cooked lunch for participants at the end of the rally and were on hand to open the museum to those interested.

It gave the rally, which was full of car enthusiasts with many classic beauties, another point of interest.

The annual rally has been running for more than 27 years and over that time had raised more than $100,000 donated to various organisations and groups around the district, he said.

Fire museum chairman Dave Eddington said volunteers had plenty of hamburgers, sausages and pies on hand for rally participants who finished the rally at the Plains complex.

They catered to around 115 people during the day, but could easily have handled more.

“It was very well received,” he said, and a good learning curve.

It was the first time they had done a catering option which they would be keen to do it again for other organisations or groups, he said.

Mr Moore said the large Plains complex was a venue that had space for all the cars and could support the influx of people along on the rally.

The rally started at the Ashburton Showgrounds and after a couple of hours tour around the district ended at the Plains complex. On show were many classic beauties including Model T Fords, Minis, Morris Minors, a Back to the Future DeLorean and a 1934 Riley Lynx (judged the most outstanding car on the concourse).