STEAM enthusiasts gathered in Abergavenny for the town's annual festival. KEILIGH BAKER reports.

THOUSANDS of people braved the torrential rain on Sunday and the sunshine on Bank Holiday Monday to visit Abergavenny’s annual Steam Rally.

Last year, visitors to the Abergavenny Steam, Veteran and Vintage Rally raised £22,000 for charities and organisers are hoping this year’s rally will raise even more.

The two-day event has been organised by the Abergavenny Steam Rally Co Ltd since 2010 with profits donated to local charities in the area. All profits are handed back to the Rotary Club for distribution to worthy causes in the town and it is now the biggest donor of charitable money in north Gwent.

Over the weekend enthusiasts were treated to a parade of steam engines convoying through the town before reaching Bailey Park, where there were classic cars and tractors, demonstrations, displays and musical performances to see.

Making a return this year were old favourites the children’s tug of war with steam engines and the ladies steering competition.

There were also performances from a stuntman, a parade of classic cars, and live music.

Show organiser, Derek Lewis said: “This year we have a great show, with outstanding arena events and a great collection of steamers, veteran and vintage machines.”

Visitors were able to view a variety of vehicles displayed throughout the park, including tractors, military vehicles, traditional farming machinery, classic cars, vintage caravans and steam engines.

Visitors were also treated to a display of duck herding demonstrations by Meirion Owen's Quack Pack and from professional stuntman Mark Stannage, who specialises in car, motorbike, fire, escapology and high fall stunts.

Organiser John Bannon said: “The weather has improved for Monday and we are set for a good day. It wasn’t so good on Sunday – the torrential rain put people off, but we were pleasantly surprised as we still had a couple of thousand visitors.

“With today’s blue skies we are expecting several thousand visitors.

“The event is always popular because it has a lovely community feel – the whole town comes together. There’s lot to see, it’s a nice family day out and most importantly, it’s a reasonable price.

“We have visitors and cars from all over the country – it’s a great event.”