THIS year, the Cotswold Oil Engine and Preservation Society is celebrating its 50th anniversary since it was first started in 1974 by the late Bob Soule at Southrop.

The aim of the club, which now has 200 members, is to discover, purchase and then restore historic machinery such as tractors, water pumps, grinding mills, farming bygones, cars, motorcycles – in fact all manner of collectables to protect the past, show them to the present and preserve them for the future.

Doug Newton from Fairford became involved with the club in 1977 and, since then, has been elevated from a new enthusiastic member to Chairman plus editor of their Newsletter.

He said: “We buy all manner of machinery from complete items to incomplete piles of rust! These are then restored to working condition and shown at events throughout the year.”

Last year, the club sponsored with the return of the Fairford Steam Show; and is also a member of the annual Fairford, Faringdon, Filkins and Burford Ploughing Society show; supports the Thames Valley Air Ambulance service; and sponsors the programme for the West Oxon Steam & Vintage Show in Witney.

The milestone 50th anniversary was celebrated at the club’s February meeting with home-made cakes sprinkled with golden balls.

The main celebration will be at the club’s Bring and Buy sale on Saturday April 20 at Langley Farm, Little Clanfield OX18 2RZ with gates open from 7.30am and then afterwards at 3pm to enjoy a pig roast and a slice of 50th anniversary cake.

The club meets on the third Thursday of each month at Southrop Village Hall and includes supper. Membership costs just £15.

To find out more, contact Doug on 01285 713688 or visit

More community news from Fairford and Lechlade here:

  • Another popular Go Wild Event is coming to the Walnut Tree Field in Fairford on Wednesday, April 3 between 10.30am-1pm. All free. All ages. Circus skills, graffiti art, giant bubbles, African drumming, crafts and more.
  • The 1st Fairford Beavers have hidden beavers all around Fairford ready for a half term Beaver Hunt! Get a certificate for competing and a small prize for one lucky winner. The hunt walk is designed for little legs to be able to handle it in one go but can be split over a few days if needed. The beavers will all be visible from the street and outside any business that is housing them, so you don’t need to worry about opening times. Those in public locations will be cable-tied and will be removed after half term. Please leave them where they are if you see them. Maps are available for £1 cash from 7a Coffee Shop or from any of the Beavers. Please read the maps carefully. They have all the information you need, including the prize draw. It is suggested that you solve all the clues, figuring out the locations first, then set out on your Beaver Hunt! Once you have found and solved the secret passcode, give your map to any Beaver before April 10 when a winner will be drawn.
  • Fairford Walk and Talk Group is a safe space to get active, build new friendships and have a good old chat along the way. No commitment needed, just a good pair of shoes. Meet at the Hare by the car park in Fairford on Saturdays at 9.30am and Sundays at 10am. For more information, contact Tracey on 07872 337469.
  • St Mary’s Church, Fairford has made contact with the Ukrainian Church in Gloucester, who are taking much needed help out to people in Ukraine every 2-3 months. They take donated items to care homes for the elderly, orphanages and rehabilitation centres. If you would like to donate anything to help those still suffering in Ukraine, please bring your donated items to the back of St Mary’s Church to the pew in front of the one collecting for the Food Bank. Items needed are: first aid items; pain killers; cold/flu products; hay-fever products; mosquito repellent; candles; part-used candles; handwarmers; new socks; new underwear; new thermal baselayers; water purification tablets, toiletries; toothpaste, toothbrushes and nappies.
  • If you were lucky enough to receive a ‘Mothers’ Day’ card this year, these can be recycled to raise funds for The Cobalt Unit in Cheltenham. Could you put them or, indeed, any other type of cards you may have to recycle, in the ‘paper recycling box’ in the Corpus Christi Chapel in St Mary’s Church.
  • There will be a Pop-Up Art Sale on Saturday March 30 from 10am-2pm at Lechlade Pavilion. Affordable original art, prints and cards available. Free parking and free admission. Find out more at