240FLM undertook its second "out duty" on the early May bank Holiday Sunday last weekend with its participation in the 2018 London to Brighton Historic Commercial Vehicle Run. This was not the first time that the appliance had done the run from Crystal Palace to Madeira Drive in Brighton but the last time was 1994 so quite a gap between attendances!
The crew of 4, consisting of Colin Farrington, Peter Russell, Paul Wood and Steve Houston, gathered the day before at Romford to transfer the appliance down to its secure overnight parking at the Crystal Palace Park ready for the 0815 start the following morning. During the first part of the journey the crew made a brief stop for photos at the original, first home, of 240FLM at New Cross Fire Station in SE London. The "on duty" watch were delighted to see one of their historic vehicles pull up outside and, for one of our crew members, a unique moment as he had driven our appliance when brand new at New Cross in 1964! A real moment of history.
Once photos had been taken and a brief chat with the station personnel concluded, it was back on the road to the overnight parking at Crystal Palace Park. The crew were staying at a local hotel and had booked an early taxi for the return to the appliance, however, the taxi failed to appear so after some fine diplomacy, the team who had brought a beautiful 1948 single deck coach from the South Yorkshire Transport Museum kindly agreed to give our lads a lift to the park in time for their allotted start so the 0815 time was just met.
Once on the road, the initial journey was quick and untroubled and they headed south to reach the 1/2 way stop at the George Hotel near Crawley.
This was a welcome break given the rising temperature on this beautiful day and the stop also allowed plenty of local visitors and supporters of the run to get a close look at 240FLM and take pictures before the crew were back on board and moving again.
Sadly, the smooth journey was about to come to a halt near the notorious " Pease Pottage" Boot sale venue where the combination of boot sale visitors, historic vehicle and their supporters and holiday makers all came to meet and create a 90 minute delay with static traffic for most of it. Not to be daunted, the crew reverted to old school local knowledge and took to the country lanes, not necessarily something to be done to often with a vehicle of this size and age, but nevertheless, better than sitting any longer being cooked in the cab next to a 6 cylinder diesel! Once out of the traffic chaos, the run down into Brighton was smooth and the lads arrived at their allotted position at just about 13.45.
Once parked up in the midst of several other fire appliances, lunch was happily devoured, obviously fish and chips, and the afternoon judging commenced. visitors and supporters flocked to see the vast array of vehicles of all types, sizes and ages and even the Mayor of Brighton took a shine to our old girl.
As the afternoon closed, the final judging result was announced and to everyone's surprise, we were awarded 2nd place in the Fire Engine class, this is a wonderful vindication and regard for all the hard work put in by the restoration team over the last 3 years. Even though the appliance still has much to be done to it, this award has served to inspire us to push even harder so that by this time next year, we may well be in a position to take first place!
As the sun began to set, it was time to head off back up the A23 to North East London, to Romford, and base for 240FLM.
The journey back was uneventful, but long, and our sole driver did a fantastic job under very tiring conditions, especially as once the appliance was safely home, the crew still had the long drive back to their own homes, some of these journeys were over a hundred miles so a huge but rewarding effort and the whole 240 FLM Preservation Group are proud of their achievements.