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Richard was a 'true gent' says his friend, film maker Paul.

A "TRUE gentleman" is how Richard Preston's friend Paul Donoghue remembers him.

They first met 25 years ago having shared a similar passion for traction engines.

As well as being known to the business community, Mr Preston was also well known in the showmen's guild - which is made up of owners of the country's fairground attractions - and at steam rallies throughout the country.

Mr Preston was president of Great Yorkshire Traction Engine Club, patron of the National Traction Engine Trust and an honorary member of the Fairground Society and the Showmen's Guild of Great Britain.

Such popularity and recognition was due to his vast collection of traction engines and organs so lovingly preserved over the years.

In fact, it was his famous Lightning II that started Prestons of Potto that brought the two men together.

Paul was curious to find out how the business had evolved from the wellknown traction engine.

Paul, 56, of Sheffield, said: "I wanted to get behind the story and find out what made them so successful."

After contacting Mr Preston and arranging to meet up, Paul later created a short film, Characters Of Steam, about him and his business in 1991. The footage was a pilot film for Channel Four television but it was never aired.

Paul said: "A goliath of preservation has sadly passed away. Richard Preston, a true gentleman of the highest order, will be sadly missed by thousands of rally goers.

"Prestons of Potto's vintage collection is second to none.

"His hugely popular original can-can shows were the centre piece of many prominent steam rallies for decades."

Over the years, the friends continued to meet on a number of occasions at some of the country's biggest fairs, including the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

Paul added: "We did lose contact for the last five years. I was devastated when I found out he had passed away. He was always available for a chat and a joke and was a true character of steam.

"Richard was one of the most richest, genuine and honest people I have ever met. He was a great bloke."


Paul Donoghue |

Richard Preston with his wife Anne Preston at their business in Potto |

Richard Preston, who has died at the age of 81 |

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2015
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