THOUSANDS turned out to enjoy a sunny first day of vintage vehicles at a popular Easter gathering in Eden.

Around 250 vehicles - including classic cars, military transport, buses and tractors - are on display today and tomorrow at seven rally sites in the two towns.

It is the 16th year the Kirkby Stephen and Brough Classic Commercial Vehicle Rally is being held and for many exhibitors it is the most successful.

"The weather has made it the best ever," said Les Foster, from Manchester, who is manning a trailer selling classic vehicle number plates.

"I've been every year since it started and I can say I've never seen so many members of the public turning up so early in the morning."

Malcom Wake, who travelled with his Bedford TL lorry from Scorton near Catterick in North Yorkshire, said: "It's a brilliant event and there's always a friendly atmosphere."

Classic bus enthusiast Fraser Booth was one of many who came from north of the border for the rally, driving the 1960 Leyland Tiger Cub single decker he owns with his brother Donald down from Glasgow.

"This is a wonderful event which attracts a lot of people from Scotland," he said. "And it's great to drive the old bus down - much better than having it parked up all day."

Having sites around four miles apart is proving no obstacle for the many visitors as organisers have put on a free classic bus and coach service.

There are also vehicle related stalls, catering and a few items of Edwardian fairground equipment to entertain younger members of the family