Well chuffed: Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust hits £1 million jackpot

The Severn Valley Railway Charitable Trust has raised £1 million after being match-funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund.

Volunteer Richard Hill, whose donation took the appeal total to £1 million for the SVR Charitable Trust
Volunteer Richard Hill, whose donation took the appeal total to £1 million for the SVR Charitable Trust

The lottery fund pledged to match every pound donated to the trust’s endowment Future Fund, to reach a total of £1 million.

The offer was open until the end of June, but over a month ahead of the deadline, the trust has received the much-anticipated donation that takes the amount raised to the £1 million mark.

Reacting to the news, the trust’s Chairman Hugh McQuade said: “We are delighted with this achievement, and have been inspired by the passion and generosity of our supporters.

"Thanks to the opportunity HLF has given us, we’ve kick-started our endowment Future Fund.

"With the first £1 million in place, we’re now in a position to make a real commitment to the future of the railway, to help fund the essential maintenance and restoration work on its rolling stock and infrastructure in the years to come.”

Locomotive 34027 Taw Valley crosses the Oldbury Viaduct on the Severn Valley Railway

A £400 cheque from SVR supporter Richard Hill tipped the scales so that the £1 million was in place, well before the final deadline.

After Gift Aid and HLF match funding, Richard’s donation was boosted to £1,000 for the appeal.

Richard, who lives in Bewdley, has been a volunteer and fundraiser at the SVR for 24 years.

He said the long-term aim of the appeal attracted his interest.

“I’m very happy that my money, along with the other donations, is going to be invested in the charitable trust’s endowment Future Fund," he added.

"It will generate income to support all kinds of restoration projects.

"I see this as helping to secure a viable future for the railway, and I like the forward thinking behind it. I really believe that since it was established in 2012, the SVR Charitable Trust has been transforming fundraising on the railway.”

There has been thousands of donations to the appeal since it began in 2014.

Some people signed up to give a regular amount on a monthly basis, others chose more unusual ways- one group of friends handed over the remains of their beer kitty after a day out on the railway, and another supporter raised money by making and selling a valuable model locomotive.

Although the first £1 million is now secured, Hugh McQuade said it is only the beginning.

He added: “Our ultimate goal is to raise £10 million for the endowment Future Fund, as we believe that would produce enough income to alleviate worries over the railway’s future.

"Although the HLF match funding has now reached its limit, we can still claim 25 per cent extra Gift Aid on donations, and I encourage people to continue to donate to the SVR’s future wellbeing.”

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