The National Traction Engine Trust

Michael Oliver, founder and chairman of Knutsford manufacturing firm Oliver Valves, has organised an official naming ceremony for the late Fred Dibnah's famous Aveling and Porter steam traction engine.

Fred Dibnah’s son, Jack, will drive the engine from Oliver Valves’ headquarters in Knutsford to the Church Inn in Moberley on Saturday 12 March.

The engine will then be ceremoniously named ‘Fred’ after its famous steeplejack owner.

Fred Dibnah spent nearly 25 years restoring the steam engine and Michael has been putting the finishing touches to it since he bought it in July 2010.

Michael Oliver said: “Fred Dibnah is a cult figure and a national institution so it seemed only fitting that we honoured his engineering genius by naming his beloved engine after him. We also thought it fitting for Jack to take the helm on its first excursion.

“I bought the engine to ensure its preservation so it can be enjoyed by generations to come – I hope that steam enthusiasts and Fred Dibnah fans alike will join us to celebrate the iconic machine.”

Mr Oliver is the owner of an extensive engine collection, including the only  Garrett showman’s road locomotive to survive into preservation, called ‘British Hero’.

The engine is expected to leave Oliver Valves around 2.30pm, and to arrive at The Church Inn at 3:30pm with the naming ceremony taking place between 3:30 and 4:00.

Oliver Valves builds valves used by the world’s biggest energy firms and employs 250 people in Knutsford and operates in fifty countries worldwide.

A new play – the Demolition Man, which celebrates the last few years of Fred Dibnah’s life – will be staged at The Octagon theatre in Bolton from 7 April – 7 May 2011.


10 Mar 2011