Steam engine restored by TV legend Fred Dibnah chugs to £240,000

Fred Dibnah, the Bolton-born steeplejack, engineer, eccentric and television personality was already an English national institution when he died in 2004.

Among the cult celebrity's many achievements was his restoration of a steam engine which was originally commissioned by the War Department and built in 1912.

Restored by Dibnah over a 25 year period, he'd planned to drive the engine to Buckingham Palace to collect his MBE from Queen Elizabeth II.

Unfortunately, this plan was scuppered by the Royal Parks Agency for fears that the vehicle's weight would damage The Mall.


The steam engine pulls Dibnah's coffin through the streets, back in 2004

Instead, thousands of onlookers and fans had a chance to see the legendary locomotive as it pulled Dibnah's coffin through the streets of Bolton.


Dibnah's statue can be found in his
native Bolton, UK

Driven by his son and adorned with the star's iconic flat cap, the locomotive was followed by a cortège of steam-powered vehicles.

And now, six years later, the same engine has been sold for £240,000 at an auction by Cheffins in Cambridgeshire, UK.

The lucky winning bidder was Michael Oliver. The Cheshire businessman has vowed to keep the engine in Dibnah's native north west of England.

While Dibnah became best-known for felling chimneys through his television work - he reportedly felled 90 throughout his lifetime - the star's charisma and northern working class views and ethics won him legions of fans.

After his death in 2004, the BBC newsreader Peter Sissons remarked: "They don't make them like that anymore."

 

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