We suffered the worst type of vandalism at our May exhibition that the hobby has ever experienced. It was traumatic and heart-rending to experience at first hand the wanton damage and destruction.
Over 1000 emails and messages of support have been received, along with financial donations from over 5500 people from across the world each of which we have tried to acknowledge. Donations “in kind” to help us rebuild came from several hundred more. They have all proved to us both the uniqueness of the event itself and how generous, kind, sympathetic and genuinely caring so many people are (while sometimes not even being interested in our hobby). Donations are still coming in and it has been truly overwhelming, humbling and very emotional, hearing donors’ stories of why they wish to support all those involved in the disaster.
All we can say is THANK YOU! Thank you very much.
Rebuilding for us, has started and Woodcroft is very painstakingly being brought back to exhibition standard. Plans are taking shape for a new layout to replace ‘Knowl End’, our youngsters layout which sadly could not be saved. Its replacement will be called Mitchell Junction in memory of Michael Roy Mitchell who donated much of the track and stock and which will, eventually, rise in its place.
Planning for the Future
Other plans, too, are taking shape. To protect and ensure the proper management of both the financial and “in kind” donations, a charitable trust is being established. Its primary aims will be:-
- to support those directly involved in the disaster,
- to support the establishment of youth railway modelling projects
- to disseminate through education projects the arts and skills involved in railway modelling.
Already exciting autumn youth projects are planned to commence in Stamford, Market Deeping and in the north of Rutland. We hope others will follow.
Meetings are also being held to take forward ideas related to increasing awareness of railway modelling with manufacturers, magazines, traders, others involved in the hobby and the wider public. It is a very exciting time for us and doors are being opened on possibilities we didn’t even know existed!
For those of us who “just wanted to model”, it has all come as the most enormous challenge, bringing a huge change in responsibilities.
Thank you all for making that possible!