SEAMS News Archives

S.E.A.M.S. 30th Anniversary

By Marks Tewkesbury

Back in 1991 a group of enthusiasts got together and decided it was high time the South East had its own dedicated stationary engine Club. Headed by the late Gerry Rump and assisted by others, including long standing enthusiasts Ian Sampson, an initial meeting was called, where Gerry was duly declared Chairman and the name Sussex Engine & Associated Machinery Society or SEAMS for short was decided upon.

Very quickly, the Society proved popular with well known and respected locals such as John & Jenny Jefferies, Charles Hudson and Tony Harcombe joining up.

Winter meetings were held at the Warnham Village Hall, where several great speakers came and talked Engines including our esteemed editor Patrick Knight and others. Summer Events
included small shows and sections at larger rallies, indeed Rudgwick Steam Rally was a favourite until its demise just a few years ago.

Through Gerry, the club supported charity events at Ditchling and elsewhere. The newsletter was produced ‘in house’ by Gerry and his wife Maureen, whom we members owe a lot too. With Gerry’s passing in the ‘Noughties’, things changed and incoming Chairman Alan Goodchild took the club in new directions. This was followed by Chairman Jonathon Foster, Membership Secretary, the late Tony Pierce and Newsletter Editor the late Paul Cook. Paul established a museum at his farm, and events were held there including the SEAMS Summer BBQ, a yearly treat.

Over the years the club has supported several projects. The first being the restoration of the large Tangye Gas engine located at Cobbs Mill with much assistance from Dennis Richardson, and
restored a derelict Hayward Tyler Hot Air engine at local gardens for the owners, led by Richard Amos.

The club also donated a large Allen heavy oil engine, rescued from a local pumping station by the late Eric Taylor to Internal Fire Museum where it has been returned to working order.

Now with the uncertainty of the Pandemic, S.E.A.M.S. hopes to keep local interest going for the future, thanks to our current Chairman Steve Rowland, Safety Officer John Peters and newly appointed Events Organiser Brian Charman, who steps into big shoes from our longest serving committee member Ian Sampson (another person the club owes so much too).

The Society has kept up to date by having a website run by Sue Goodchild and setting up its own dedicated Facebook page looked after by committee member Sean Murrell.

For the 30th Anniversary, it was deemed appropriate to hold an event to mark this milestone and with the agreement of Pete and Lin Vandendyck, the club took over Foxleigh Barn for the weekend or 7th/8th August for a ‘private’ get-to-gether and BBQ. Unfortunately no one told the weather Gods, who decided it was high time we enjoyed some decent rain!

Saturday afternoon, just as the BBQ was lit, we suffered some hefty showers, but the brave team of John and Steve kept on cooking and all enjoyed themselves, if a little damply. Of course as soon as the food had been enjoyed, the sun came out! Oh well, lets hope the next milestone can be enjoyed with better weather.