Our final Open Days of the year took place on Saturday & Sunday, 9th & 10th June, 2017. These were part of the National Heritage Open Days, which enable people to visit many places that are not often open to the public. After a rainy start on the Saturday morning, whilst Members of the Friends of the Dragline were opening up and tidying the site, we enjoyed fine weather for the rest of the weekend. We received around two hundred visitors on both days, most of whom came from the local area. A visitor from Wrexham, who had attended for the first time in June, made a return visit. Tours of the Dragline went on all day and the working models on display helped people to understand how our Machine would have worked when operational. Films running throughout the day showed Draglines in a working situation, walking by moving their giant feet, rotating by lifting their feet and moving thousands of tons of soil and rock. Many people purchased DVDs of this, to re-live the experience at home. Mugs featuring “Oddball” were also popular.
We are always happy to welcome new Members and would also appreciate offers of help with organising and running our Open Days. If you would like to join the Friends of the Dragline, or would like to offer your time to assist with events, please email our Secretary on firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday, 10th June, 2017, we held our second Open Day of the year. There was rain in the morning whilst some Members were strimming weeds and generally tidying the Dragline’s compound but by the time the first people arrived it had become fine, although rather overcast. We welcomed around one hundred visitors, not only from the local area, including a professional photographer, our local PCSO, who often visits our site whilst out on patrol, and Leeds City Councillor James Lewis, but also from as far away as Wrexham. In addition to looking all around the Dragline, visitors enjoyed seeing working models demonstrating exactly how Draglines worked and were able to view archive films of this taking place at various locations. Souvenir mugs featuring “Oddball” were in demand, as were DVDs of the historic Dragline footage.
Our first Open Day of 2017 took place on Saturday 22nd April. Members were busy during the morning getting the site ready to receive our visitors. There are many jobs to be done, from strimming around the site to putting out chairs. The weather was fine and sunny and we had around one hundred and twenty visitors who enjoyed an interesting day out. Whilst some were touring the Dragline and listening to her history and learning how the varous parts worked, others were in the substation watching films of Draglines at work and also seeing this demonstrated by working models. Many people bought Dragline DVDs and souvenir mugs with Oddball on them were also very popular. If you would like to help out on the sales table, or with any other jobs, please send us an email or have a word with one of the Stewards at an Open Day.
On Saturday, 1st April, several Members gathered at St Aidans for a morning of site maintenance. They were joined by photographer Bob Holt, who had come along especially to take photographs of Oddball. Some of Bob’s photographs will shortly be appearing on our website.
In the afternoon, our AGM took place in the meeting room at Bowers Row Chapel, just over the road from the St Aidans site. The thirteen Members present were joined by two visitors, the photographer Bob Holt and Leeds City Councillor James Lewis.
The Committee Members gave their Annual Reports and all were re-elected for another year. Various topics were discussed, with regard to the ongoing care and maintenence of the Dragline and planning the new season of Open Days. The Secretary expressed thanks to those Members who had helped with Stewarding at the previous year’s Open Days. If you would like to become involved with the Open Days, please send an email via our “Contact us” section, or come along to one of the Open Days and speak to any of the Stewards.
The Friends of the Dragline AGM is to take place on Saturday, 1st April 2017, starting at 2pm. It is to be held in the Bowers Row Chapel, on the opposite side of the road from the St Aidans site.
The Agenda is as follows.
- Apologies for absence.
- Minutes of Previous AGM.
- Chairman’s Report.
- Secretary’s Report.
- Treasurer’s Report.
- Election of Officers.
- Review of arrangements for 2017 Open Days.
- Discussion of application to Heritage Lottery Fund.
- Any other business.
The weather was fine for our September Open Days. Saturday was mainly overcast, but Sunday was very sunny. Well over one hundred visitors arrived on both days, to explore our Dragline, inside and outside. In the Substation, working models demonstrated how Draglines operated and DVDs of Draglines at work were running throughout the day.
We were pleased to welcome three Leeds City Councillors, Keith Wakefield, Mary Harland and James Lewis, along with many other local people who are regular visitors. Other people had come greater distances, including a man from the Isle of Man, on his motorcycle. Someone who had formerly worked with Draglines in the North East of England, arrived from Australia, where he now lives, having worked with Draglines there, too, and also in Africa. Some Ploughing enthusiasts who were in the area for an event near York also added Oddball to their trip.
Souvenir Oddball Mugs were on sale to raise funds, as were Dragline DVDs, and the Tombola was very popular, with topical prizes very kindly donated by various traders at the Hillhead Quarry Exhibition which had taken place at Buxton, Derbyshire during the Summer.
Richard John Budge, of RJB Mining, who made the preservation of Oddball possible by donating the machine to the St Aidans Trust, passed away on 18th July, 2016. The Friends of St Aidans, who care for the machine and open it up to the public, were represented at Richard’s funeral in Retford on 9th August, 2016.
The Friends of the Dragline held an Open Day at St Aidans on Saturday, 11th June, 2016. This followed a busy morning of preparation by several of the Friends.
Nearly one hundred visitors arrived to see Oddball, our preserved Walking Dragline Excavator. Many were local people making repeat visits, but some had come quite a long way to see Oddball for the first time.
In addition to being able to have a good look at Oddball, both inside and out, including sitting high up in the Driver’s cab and examining the Giant Bucket resting on the ground, people could also go in the Substation and watch historic videos of Draglines at work, and see working models in action.
Come and see Oddball, the largest preserved walking dragline excavator in Western Europe.
Look all round outside and see the giant 25 cubic yard bucket.
Go inside the machine and see all the motors and winding gear.
Sit in the driver’s seat!
Take in the view from the jib!
See working models and video displays in the substation.
Our dates for 2017 are:
- Saturday 22nd April
- Saturday 10th June
- Saturday 9th September
- Sunday 10th September
We are open from 1pm to 4pm on each of these days. Admission is free and there is parking on site. If you are arriving by bicycle, there is parking available, so please remember to bring your locks. Dogs on leads are welcome within our Compound, but cannot go on the Dragline. Please help to keep our area tidy by cleaning up after your pet, if necessary. Doggy bags are available at the Substation. For directions to our site, and a map of the area, please see our “Find Us” page.
After some hard work by several of our Members, opening up and preparing the site, our first Open Day of the year took place on Saturday, 16th April, 2016. This was attended by around ninety visitors who enjoyed looking around the Dragline, inside and outside and also watching the scale models operating in the Substation, with archive films of Draglines at work running in the background. Some visitors were relatively local, and some were from as far afield as Ipswich, Suffolk. One former Driver of Oddball arrived on his Vintage Tractor, which drew an appreciative audience.