During the AGM on 3rd March 2007 the Chairman, Michael Goakes, read the following statement :-
"It is with some great degree of pleasure that I have to report that the Association has successfully negotiated the loan, from Leeds City Council, of the very derelict Fowler Steam Roller which stood in Pudsey Park for many years. This Roller, DN type No 15752, which dates from 1921, was given to the people of Pudsey by local benefactor Sir Walter Ward and placed in the Park for the local children to enjoy. It passed to the City of Leeds in the mid-1970s as a result of local government reorganisation. It eventually became derelict and was subsequently removed to a council store because it was too dangerous to remain in the park as a plaything. Because of the way it was gifted to the people of Pudsey, it was not able to be sold by the Council and even some thirty years ago, local enthusiasts were trying to get the Council to part with it.
One young Steam Roller owner even bought a Motor Roller in order to exchange the two, believing he had the Council's permission at the time to do so. Unfortunately, this came to nought and it has taken until now, after the local museum turned it down and many people had tried to buy it, to come up with a scheme which was acceptable to the Council to allow it to be removed for restoration. Much of the credit for this rests with Derek Rayner who felt that since the Council could not sell it and it had become an embarrassment to them, they may actually give the Roller away to an organisation called The Pudsey Roller Trust if such a body could be formed. Unfortunately, for various reasons, this proposed venture failed.
Some two years of recent negotiations, involving our Member Keith Wear from Scunthorpe and the Council have now come to fruition and your Committee have reached agreement with the Council for the Roller's long term loan to the Association - 25 years - to be extended as appropriate, to enable fund raising to be put in hand and the restoration of the Roller to be started. This agreement is to be signed on Monday next.
Also, to this end, the Association is to appoint an Operations Agent to undertake this task, on a separately negotiated agreement - which is still under negotiation. This person will be, subject to contract, our Member Ian Fearnley who, together with his son Jamie, is probably well known to several in this room and who certainly has the right qualifications and background in road steam engineering and restoration to enable him to take on such a task. Also, to keep it in the family, Ian's wife Doreen comes from Pudsey and remembers the Roller as a plaything from her childhood days.
This move is seen as a major feather in the Association's cap - for which we need to raise some money - and for this reason, a "Pudsey Roller Restoration Fund" is being set up by the Association. I hope that you, the Members, will give the Committee your full support for this venture in the years to come."
Pctured above are Denise Preston, Chief Recreation Officer, Leeds City Council, Learning & Leisure Department, Parks & Countryside Service, and RRA Chairman Michael Goakes on 5 March 2007 when the loan agreement was signed.