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Norwich man's battle to buy steam roller called Helga

PUBLISHED: 10:15 08 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:39 02 July 2010

The 1953 HENSCHEL 10 Ton D.C.C. Steam Roller, that John Lloyd is trying to raise money to buy.

The 1953 HENSCHEL 10 Ton D.C.C. Steam Roller, that John Lloyd is trying to raise money to buy.

Matthew Sparkes

A Norwich man is raising cash to buy a 57-year-old 10-ton steam roller called Helga which he says will re-ignite childrens' fascination with engineering.

A Norwich man is raising cash to buy a 57-year-old 10-ton steam roller called Helga which he says will re-ignite childrens' fascination with engineering.

Supply teacher John Lloyd, who lives off Dereham Road, hopes to buy the vintage machine which will tour schools in the region.

He said the scheme will teach children about history and science, but will also put a smile on their faces and encourage them to think about engineering as a career.

He has found the ideal vehicle, which is currently in Kent, but needs to raise £50,000 to buy it and begin the education group he plans to call SPLAT, or 'steam-powered learning and teaching team'.

Built by German firm Henschel and Son in 1953, this was one of the last steam rollers to be built in Europe before new technology took over and is one of the fastest steam rollers ever made.

Mr Lloyd claims that the engines are the perfect educational tool, but admits that raising the money will be a battle.

“It's very good because you can bring in lots of different themes, you can bring in local heritage, maths, science, and it's keeping alive rural skills,” he said.

“The manufacturing business of this country is declining and we need to switch kids on to science.”

Once the money is raised there will be further expense in bringing it to the region, and somewhere will be needed to store it.

Mr Lloyd got interested in steam engines when his son was young as a way for the pair to spend time together.

“We went to a steam engine rally one day and we became volunteers at Strumpshaw Steam Museum,” he said.

After becoming interested in the engines Mr Lloyd took a course to learn how to drive them, and began using his skills in educational projects using borrowed engines.

With its own engine SPLAT would be able to tour schools and teach children new skills, but would also attend steam rallies to raise funds and promote the group.

For more information call Mr Lloyd on 07827 681957.

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