Fire engine is unveiled as new gateway feature

Martin Ainscough and Norma White at the unveiling of Norma the Fire Engine at Leyland Hotel
Martin Ainscough and Norma White at the unveiling of Norma the Fire Engine at Leyland Hotel
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The newest ‘Welcome to Leyland’ gateway feature was revealed to the public for the first time yesterday in a special ceremony outside the Best Western Leyland Hotel.

The 1938 TL Fire Engine, which was made by Leyland Motors and used during World War Two, has followed the Centurion Tank to become the next heritage vehicle to be used in the town’s ‘Made in Leyland’ series.

Flocks of people attended the official opening on Leyland Way yesterday to watch as the Mayor of South Ribble, Coun Dorothy Gardner, cut the ribbon and watched the curtain fall down to reveal the spectacular fire engine inside a specially-made glass case.

She was joined by Leyland entrepreneur Martin Ainscough, who bought the vintage vehicle and donated it to South Ribble Council last year.

Also in attendance was Norma White, who the vehicle has been named after, standing in for her husband Tony who owned the fire engine before it was bought by Mr Ainscough on eBay.

She said: “Tony had the fire engine for 30 years - he’s a collector of vehicles but mainly focuses on tractors - but he did always love this fire engine.

“We’d had it for a while so he thought it was time it moved on, but we never expected anything like this.

“It’s just stunning.”

Martin Ainscough, who made his fortune in the Ainscough Cranes business, added: “I’m absolutely delighted with the result, it’s just fantastic.

“We’ve got the Centurion Tank and we have ambitions to do more of this type of thing in Leyland, but I never expected something as splendid as this.

“This is really eye-catching.”

- For more pictures and coverage of the special event, see next week’s Leyland Guardian.