FANS of legendary steeplejack the late Fred Dibnah came from far and wide to his former home to celebrate his 76th birthday.

The doors of the house in Radcliffe Road, The Haulgh, which is now the Fred Dibnah Heritage Centre, were thrown open to visitors on Saturday to mark the occasion.

Leon Powsney, who owns the house and runs the heritage centre, holds the bash every year on the Saturday closest to his birthday, which is actually today.

Mr Powsney says he thinks Fred would have been looking down at his former home with a smile on his face.

He said: “I think he would be pleased that his home has been preserved, it was in a bit of a state when we took over.”

Entertainment on the day came from Eagley Brass Band, as well as displays of mini steam engines and refreshments.

The Tempest family came from Lincolnshire to be at Fred’s house for his special day.

Ashley, aged 33, who builds and trades live model steam locomotives for a living, came along with his six-year-old daughter Abi and his father Dave.

He said: “We were all big Fred fans, so to come down and have a look at the place and being offered the chance to bring your own engine is an honour.

“I think Fred would have enjoyed the day, I met him a few times and he was always very generous with his time.”

Fred died from cancer in November 2004, aged 66.

Mr Powsney, who bought the house in 2008 for £185,000 with his wife Jan, now says it is time for him to move on and is asking fans of Fred to pitch in to help preserve the house in the future.

He wants a charitable trust to take over the venue which, and is asking for people to pledge money to the project.