Just over 25 YEARS ago, on February 1, 1995, the Echo reported how the age of steam returned to Charminster as the body of one of its greatest enthusiasts was laid to rest in the village cemetery.

Farmer and steam buff Jack Miles’ own traction engine, the 1901 Haydon princess, pulled the hearse from St Mary’s Church, accompanied by his second engine, the Fermoy, and hundreds of mourners.

There was only standing room left in the church as steam buffs crowded in to pay their respects to haulier Mr Miles, who died after a short illness at the age of 79, leaving a sister, Olive, at Haydon Farm, Charminster.

The vicar of Charminster, Reverend Geoffrey Boult, said the number at the service was a fitting tribute to Mr Miles. The Reverend added: "He had a jovial and happy character which fitted in well with everyone."

The Echo reported that Mr Miles' passion for steam began as a small child, and developed into an abiding love. He bought the Haydon Princess, a Marshall agricultural engine, in 1960.

Mr Miles was also one of the founders of the Great Dorset Steam Fair and it was his last wish to be carried to the cemetery on a trailer pulled by his own engine.