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Severn Valley Railway reach initial fundraising target to repair vandalised carriages

By Rebecca Stanley | Entertainment | Published:

Severn Valley Railway have raised a whopping £10,000 for vandalised carriages in just a week.

Derek Stagg, Hugh McQuade, John Beck and James Broughton celebrate the success of the £10,000 appeal during their tea break at the SVR’s Kidderminster workshops

The appeal was launched to meet the costs of putting right the damage caused when vandals sprayed paint along the sides of two carriages on Christmas Day, the only day that the railway was closed over the festive period.

Commenting on the appeal’s success, Charitable Trust director Shelagh Paterson said: “The speed and generosity of the response we’ve received shows us just how shocked people were when the news of this awful incident broke.

"It also shows the depth of their passion for the Severn Valley Railway, and everything it stands for.

"Keeping our heritage alive and accessible is clearly very important to the wide range of people who’ve come forward to add their support.

"With the exception of a handful of larger amounts, most of the donations we received were between £10 and £25.

"Each one was a vote of confidence in the sterling skills of the SVR’s restoration volunteers and staff, and we are so grateful to everyone for their support.”

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A generous donation of £1,000 took the appeal past its £10,000 target. This came from the Worcestershire Ambassadors, a group that draws together leaders of industry, enterprise and public life. The group’s chair, Phil Dutton of Handelsbanken Worcester, said:

“When we learnt about the vandalised carriages, we felt very strongly that we wanted to help the railway in its time of need. As a group, our aim is to promote Worcestershire as a place to work, live and visit. Making this donation to the county’s leading heritage and visitor attraction is exactly the sort of cause we want to support.”

The Severn Valley Railway (SVR) Charitable Trust received hundreds of individual donations for the appeal. Many added messages of support, such as Daniel White who said: “The SVR preserves important machines from our past and the experience people can have from them. I hope this helps it to continue to preserve the two vandalised carriages for everyone to experience.”

Another donor, Elaine Leung wrote: “After our Christmas Eve Santa visit which you made so magical, I wanted to give you something back for this senseless act of vandalism.”

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Work to restore the first of the vandalised carriages, the teak-bodied GNR 2701 dating from 1922, is underway in the SVR’s Kidderminster paint shop.

A team of volunteers have spent three days removing the spray paint by hand. The gold leaf lettering and painted lining on the carriage was badly damaged but is now being restored. The team will then apply several fresh coats of varnish to finish things off. Paint removal will begin in the next few days on the second vandalised carriage, the metal-skinned GWR 1146.

The unscheduled work to restore these two important carriages has meant a delay to this month’s scheduled projects, including the conversion of a vehicle to provide first class dining accommodation, suitable for wheelchair users and their companions.

Although the initial appeal target of £10,000 has been reached, further contributions to carriage restoration are needed, and donations can be made online at www.svrtrust.org.uk or by phoning 01562 757940.

Rebecca Stanley

By Rebecca Stanley
@becci_star

Entertainment journalist for Express & Star and Shropshire Star. Contact me: rebecca.stanley@expressandstar.co.uk

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