MORE than 22,000 people attended the Tank Museum’s annual Tankfest extravaganza at the weekend.

The three-day event, which was completely sold out, attracted fans of heavy armour from around the world – including visitors from the USA, Japan and Australia.

It was the 15th Tankfest to date, and organisers say it has been the biggest yet.

More than 50 vehicles trundled around the special display arena, where a number of mock battles involving the heavy armour was also held.

Even Red Dwarf star Chris Barrie, a big supporter of the museum, got in on the action, taking the controls of one of the armoured ‘Dingo’ vehicles in the arena.

Among the hardware on display was a World War Two French Char B1 tank from the French Tank Museum and a Soviet Cold War era IS3 tank from the Belgian Royal Military Museum.

From the Netherlands was a Leopard 2 belonging to the Historic Collection of the Royal Netherlands Army.

And private collector Jon Phillips’ Stug III and Marder III were there along with two newly restored WW1 French FT-17 tanks from the Weald Collection.

Tank Museum director Richard Smith said: “This Tankfest had a truly impressive line-up of guest vehicles and tanks from the museum’s collection.

“It was a fantastic event for people to see these historic machines on the move and understand the impact of their presence on the battlefield.”

Tankfest is the Bovington attraction’s most important fundraising event.

Also featuring throughout the weekend event was the museum’s own collection of armour - which included ‘Fury’ from the film of the same name, a newly-restored World War II Matilda II, Valentine and Comet.

In May The Princess Royal opened a new workshop at the museum, which is the fourth phase of the Bovington museum’s redevelopment.

It has received £14m in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund over the past 12 years.

The new facility was named the ‘Gilchrist Conservation Workshop’ after Peter Gilchrist, the outgoing chairman of trustees.

Tankfest took place from June 29-July 1.