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A Love of Steam Engines, Ignites the Flames Love

Little Bramingham Farm Resident and her Husband, Celebrate Valentine’s Day Reminiscing How A Love of Steam Rallies Led to Love

At Friends of the Elderly’s Little Bramingham Farm care home in Luton, Bedfordshire, resident Sylvia Philpot has been reminiscing with her husband David about how their joint passion for steam rallies led to them finding love together when they met 49 years ago.

Sylvia, who has been a resident at Little Bramingham Farm since May 2022, enjoys regular visits from David and the couple are often found chatting away about steam rallies and engines.

The pair met in 1975 at Totternhoe Country Steam Fair when widow Sylvia and her friend caught the bus to take them to the nearest steam rally to Luton. The pair took Sylvia’s two children – who love steam fairs – with them to enjoy the range of historic steam-powered vehicles and machinery. They had such an exciting time seeing all the traction engines, steam rollers, steam wagons, steam cars and trains, that they decided to return the next day.

The following day there were no buses running as it was the August Bank Holiday, so a friend kindly took them all to the rally in his car, so they didn’t miss out. This, as it turned out, was fate. David said: “Our original meeting was a bit staged by me to be honest. I knew of Sylvia as she lived just down the road from my yard. When her husband was alive, he used to stop by with the children and they’d watch me work on the steam and traction engines. When her friend asked me to take the children for a ride on my traction engine, I asked a qualified chap to do it instead so I could spend time chatting with Sylvia.”

The pair had a lovely chat with Sylvia saying: “We spent quite a while talking, and David told me about his own steam and traction engines, the time just flew by.” The couple kept in touch, and the rest is history. 

“We both love the countryside and steam rallies are so interesting, they really are fun-filled days out. There’s nothing better than a good walk around a rally, followed by a cup of tea and a sandwich,” David added.                                             

“Some of the steam rallies and fairs we’ve visited were huge. I visited The Great Dorset Steam Fair which has the largest collection of steam and vintage equipment in the world. I believe over 200,000 people visit each year. They are extremely popular,” continued David.

The couple tied the knot on 30th April 1977 at All Saints Church in Luton and went on a caravanning honeymoon to Newport Pagnall and Oxfordshire. “Our wedding was a lovely day, I was a tiny bit late to the church, but that’s the Bride’s prerogative really,” recalls Sylvia. “The reception was so much fun, one of my friend’s said it was one of the best parties she’d been to,” she added. 

Emma Lawrance, the Registered Manager at Little Bramingham Farm said: “Sylvia and David are a delightful couple. David is always visiting Sylvia and has become an honorary member of the Little Bramingham Farm family. The stories of their adventures at steam rallies – and of David’s own steam engine – are enthralling and have us all captivated. They really are so knowledgeable on the subject.

“We wanted to give the happy couple a special Valentine’s Day surprise, so we arranged for a delicious three course meal for two in Susie’s Team Room, our very own, quaint and pretty tea room which is set in in our beautiful gardens. We got ‘Cupid Creative’ and gave Susie’s a complete Valentine’s makeover, complete with themed decorations, hearts and balloons,” added Emma.

The happy couple will be celebrating their 47th Wedding Anniversary this April; the anniversary whose gemstone is the Amethyst, the pretty purple stone which signifies peace, healing and equilibrium, which are all important aspects of a successful marriage.

“We’ve often been asked what’s our secret to a long and happy marriage. We both agree that it’s definitely being best friends and being able to talk about everything and anything,” Sylvia continued. “We don’t argue, it might sound strange but it’s true. It’s not easy to find a wonderful lady, but I got lucky. We support each other, are patient with each other and love each other – and steam engines of course,” concluded David.

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