In 1991, Warner Hall, as a Member of Winchester Rotary Club suggested that the Club could run a local Fundraising Event based around Farm Models with the name of TOYTRAC. Its timing was based around a period in the Arable Farming year when little pressure was on buildings and machinery.
Manor Farm at Woodmancott near Basingstoke offered one of their flat floor grain drying barns for our use in June. The only snag was that we had to fit the Trade Stands around all the Farm Implements and Combines that were in the barn. It ran well for three years until it was found that June was not a popular month for the Traders and many Visitors were busy on their Grassland Farms. Way back then our Traders included Graham & Michelle Miller, Bill & Jean Richardson, Brian Norman and Brian & Ann Parks of Scaledown.
A few years later, while at Brian Norman’s Show at Biggleswade, it was decided to consider running TOYTRAC at Farmer Giles Farmstead near Teffont, near Salisbury. This location just off the A303 was within easy reach of Collectors from the South and West of England and Wales. TOYTRAC 2000 on 5th November was the first Show at Farmer Giles.
Farmer Giles Farmstead was an excellent site and we ran Shows there from 2000 until 2006 in early November. The site in many ways was ideal but on wet Show days – and there were many – the lack of grass on the car parks meant that we were all moving around in a sea of mud – this included a team of Car Parking volunteers from Winchester Rotary Club. The facilities at Farmer Giles were also unable to meet the needs of our ever increasing numbers of Traders and Visitors.
It was noted at this time that every winter, Wincanton Racecourse were erecting a solid walled pavilion , well lit, with a carpeted floor and with the space in which we could run TOYTRAC . The Racecourse, set in Somerset countryside has an excellent free-draining large car park, tarmac around all the buildings and excellent toilet facilities. We just had to be there!
Thus we stated our ‘new’ TOYTRAC in 2007 and have run them every year since. In later years we have been running a very popular Farm Models Exhibition in further buildings around the Pavilion.
In 2017 Warner Hall retired and the 'huge shoes he left to fill' were passed to Mandy and Frazer Budden of HLT Miniatures.
Sadly, Warner passed away in 2018. He was a consumate gentleman, an inspiration and a hero to carpet farmers everywhere - he will be sorely missed.