BAKE off star Prue Leith was in Didcot today to help launch a steam engine lovingly re-created by enthusiasts.

The TV presenter and chef launched the locomotive, called ‘Lady of Legend’ and modelled on one of the most important designs of the early 20th century, at 11.15am.

These models were introduced by the Great Western Railway from 1902 and served for half a century before being scrapped by 1953.

Now, the Great Western Society (GWS) has rebuilt a Saint at Didcot, using a later version of the class rescued from a scrapyard.

Ms Leith, who lives in the Cotswolds, was a member of British Rail’s hotel company board, appointed by British Railways Board (BRB) chairman, Peter Parker, in the mid 1970s.

Oxford Mail:

Didcot Railway Centre said it was ‘delighted’ to host Mrs Leith for the launch of the engine.

In a statement on its website, a spokesman said: “The ‘Saints’ are now acknowledged to have had a profound influence on almost every aspect of subsequent steam locomotive development.

“Unfortunately no example was saved for preservation, the final engine, No. 2920 Saint David, being withdrawn from service and scrapped in 1953, ending a distinguished half century of work by the class - until now!

“Since 2004 the Great Western Society has been working to re-create an example of this iconic class.”

Oxford Mail:

Celebrations will continue over the weekend with family attractions including an Edwardian trail and many visitors adopting Edwardian dress.

Former bake off contestant Christine Wallace will be demonstrating Edwardian cookery.

Tickets at