His face used to be associated with Sunday evening television, bringing great enthusiasm about the UK's golden age of steam into people's lives on a weekly basis.
If there was ever a man that loved his trains and traction engines it was Fred Dibnah. The Lancashire native was always beaming with a smile as he would recount tales of seeing steam trains on the nearby railway line near his home in Bolton. It did not simply stop at trains either as the steeplejack also had a major passion for traction engines owning a series himself. Whatever he did, he was always happiest when talking about steam.
England is a country proud of its rich railway heritage and Fred was the perfect person to explain to the nation his love of steam and how it made this country great. While very informative and full of little anecdotes, Fred brought a sense of warmth to a subject that may not have been the go-to choice when the television executives were drawing up plans for their Sunday schedule.
One of the most endearing moments during his television career was when he travelled to Blackpool to visit the Pepsi Max Big One rollercoaster which contains a certain type of metal. Commenting on what a great feat of engineering the ride is he cannot resist but ride it numerous time before a gust of wind blows his famous flat cap off on the third time round. Fred simply remarks that he should have "riveted it on".
This was just a small part of the love he had for engineering, one which had stayed with him since he was a young boy. However, the true passion in his life was steam and his Age of Steam programmes became a big favourite in the nation's weekly viewing. The shows would take the viewer through the golden generations of when the UK led the way in terms of creating and running steam engines.
It is a nation that has created some of the most iconic steam trains in history such as the Mallard and the Flying Scotsman. These two alone are known across the world with the former still to this day holding the record for speed for a steam train. Fred championed these engines and showed them for the great vehicles they were and to simply celebrate this golden age in the UK in terms of steam.
One of Fred's pride and joy was his 1912 Aveling & Porter steamroller which he paid a friend the minimal sum of £2,300 in 1980. He then took it upon himself to restore the model back to its former glory and took great joy in restoring the historic model and gave an ambitious estimate of four years to bring it back to life but in reality 27 years to complete.
The steamroller acted as part of Fred's legacy and following his passing in 2004 it still remained but his spirit lived on as in 2010 it went under the hammer and sold for £240,000.