TWENTY years ago Michael Lee and family held the first Gas Up at their home at Thorverton for charity.  It has been held every year since, apart from the covid years, raising thousands of pounds for Devon Air Ambulance.

The Gas Up welcomes tractors, the older the better, cars, motorcycles, in fact almost anything on wheels, as well as a number of stalls and even a Tarot reader.  

Members of West Devon Emergency Volunteers were marshals for the day.  Kept busy all day was the miniature railway operated by members of Exeter and District Model Engineering Society. 

The railway can be found at the Society meetings on the first Sunday of every month at St Katherine’s Priory, Exeter, weather permitting.  It uses less than a kilo of coal in a day’s running.  

Probably the youngest entrant was 13 years-old Edwin Walling, whose father Tom said they live “just over the hedge” from Michael Lee and family at Thorverton.  Edwin goes to Queen Elizabeth’s School. 

They had their 1926 Fordson TF, probably the oldest tractor there.  The family has had the Fordson for three years.  “We bought it as a wreck, even missing a front wheel,” said Tom.  Edwin helped with some of the restoration. 

Another old vehicle was the 1917/18 Austin that had lived in New Zealand for 100 years taking tourists along the coast, later owned by a coal merchant. 

Made in Longbridge, it came back to this country, spent 24 years in restoration and is now owned by Nick Thom who lives at Whitestone and uses it to take people from care homes on outings. 

Another, newer vehicle was the 1976 International that its owner said it was six months after he bought it before he told the wife!

Also there was Colin Sanders from Exminster, a member of East Devon Tractor, Machinery and Engineering Group, with his 1967 Allis Chalmers ED 40 that he uses in ploughing matches. 

Colin will be known for always having his little dog, Beth, in the cab beside him wherever he went with the tractor.  No more, sadly Beth died last year at the age of 16.5 years.

This year’s event raised £3,598.76 for Devon Air Ambulance and thanks went to all involved or supported the event in any way.