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Members Election Statements

Gavin Johns (Chairman)

I have been a volunteer signalman for about 14 years, a Trustee for 6 years and Chairman of the Trust since October 2013.  I am training to be a TTI.


I now have a good understanding of the breadth of issues facing the railway. 


Our Strategic Plan provides the best foundation on which to build and develop the railway.  My priorities remain, which I pursue at meetings and in my voting: Volunteer attraction and retention; adopting financially sensible practices; securing funds; and improving the quality of our decision making. These are essential for the Trust to achieve its objectives and its future plans.


I believe I have good broad business skills and experience to be a Trustee.  I am good at listening, reflecting and deciding a course of action.


The Trust and Railway have a great future and role to play in Purbeck.  I will continue with open consultation on key issues so that we can all help shape the direction of the Trust and railway.


I firmly believe that for the Railway to be sustainable and to grow, we have to operate as a team.  That means treating the contribution of all staff and members in a  positive way, making the most of the varied levels of skill and experience we have available to us.  As a Trustee I will continue to promote inclusivity and tolerance so that all can contribute towards our objectives.


I hope I can count on your support.

Term ends: 2020. Proposed by: Mark Woolley. Seconded by: David Budd

Liz Sellen (Deputy Chairman)

The recent realisation of a founding Trust objective achieved there is no let-up in future challenges and work required. With other achievements of past months the need for us to all work together has never been greater. This includes effort individually and collectively to run this wonderful railway we have to ensure we continue to work safely in all our environments, and to seek to both recruit additional volunteers to help whilst continually supporting, encouraging and retaining current colleagues.


All this working within and to the overarching systems we have established and continue to develop to enable all our achievements to continue and grow. The volume of areas we are progressing in at any one time are amazing and my personal sense of pride at being just one small part in that was never greater than on the 13th June this year.


An active volunteer of 27 years I manage the Trusts membership records, work with others on membership & volunteer and education & museums group matters and when possible anywhere else I can be useful. With your support I seek to continue as a Trustee of this inspirational organisation.


Thank you.

Term ends: 2019

Mark Woolley (Secretary)

I am privileged to currently be Secretary of the Swanage Railway Trust and to also serve as a Director of the Swanage Railway Company.


The historic completion of a 45 year dream to reinstate a fully operational branch line and passenger train service between Swanage and Wareham represents a tremendous achievement by so many people. However, whilst this milestone has been rightly celebrated, the challenges remain to ensure that the Wareham service can be sustained whilst the heritage railway continues to flourish. Risks remain and for large parts of the year money will continue to be tight.


We need to continue to ensure that we work together to maximise our unique selling points, control costs and guarantee that volunteers feel they are fully appreciated and are playing an essential role. Our priorities need to be raising levels of volunteer recruitment and retention and obtaining capital funds in order to build better rolling stock maintenance and servicing facilities.


I feel that a degree of continuity is important at this pivotal time for the Swanage Railway and will be very grateful for your support at this election. I remain absolutely committed to the principle of a charity controlled, volunteer led, heritage railway.

Term ends: 2019

Dan Bennett

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first two years serving on the Council of Management. I hope I have made a difference, my experience of working in rolling stock maintenance bringing some useful knowledge particularly when it comes to decision making in this area.


I’m the convenor of the Assets Group, which oversees projects like the restoration of heritage coaches. I have also helped Swanage Railway Company with its rolling stock, and have recently assisted by sourcing and negotiating for several wagons required for future infrastructure work.


I have been a volunteer on the railway itself for 16 years, for both the Operations department as a Diesel Secondman, and for the LC&W department as a fitter.


I feel that to serve on the Council of Management it is important to understand how the railway operates and also to have an active input in its operation. I’m passionate about helping to provide the engineering and operational facilities that the railway requires, to not only support our core heritage services but also the increased requirements that Project Wareham brings.


With all of the above considered, I hope that you will give me the opportunity to serve on the Council for another term.

Term ends: 2019

Geoff Carter

I am submitting my name for re-election to the Swanage railway Trust because I believe that with the experience of the 27years I have spent working as a volunteer with SRC operations and 10 years as an SRC Director, coupled with the 36 years I completed as a mechanical design engineer with the Ford Motor Company, I can offer a significant contribution to SRT policy and management decisions.


My profession with Ford included spending the later 23 years as a factory/project manager covering combined UK and German new engineering operations. I am a footplate Traction Inspector and on the role of SRC staff able to undertake Responsible Officer (RO) duties. I live in Swanage very close to the Railway's main line by Victoria Avenue bridge and am thus usually very much aware of the Railway's daily operations.


A key wish of mine is to see the SR have a good, covered, engineering, maintenance and rolling stock storage facilities that will enable staff to work under cover instead of in the open, for our locomotives and rolling stock to be better protected against the ravages of the weather , and for us to be able to offer  recognised excellent engineering service to the UK Heritage Railway movement as a whole.

Term ends: 2020. Proposed by: Matt McManus. Seconded by: Peter Sills

Paul Clements

After fourteen years as a volunteer I have witnessed first-hand the changes which have occurred on the Swanage Railway during that time.


A Trustee since 2011, including two years as Treasurer, a position which I had to relinquish on health grounds, my current role is that of Legacy Officer. I would urge you all to please consider making some form of provision in your Will to benefit the Trust, and am happy to assist in helping you to convey your wishes. Legacies will play a vital part in the future development of the SR, but this can only happen with the commitment of those who want to see the SR prosper and to continue bringing enjoyment and education to future generations.


Two years ago I commented that the development of the SR was reaching a stage which is both exciting and at the same time somewhat daunting. Nothing has changed in this respect except that with the introduction of the initial trial service to Wareham that anticipation has now become a reality. I enjoy the fulfilment of being a Trustee and remain passionate about the Swanage Railway and its future.


I ask for your continued support please.

Term ends: 2019

Randy Coldham

I joined the Swanage Railway in January 2017 and trained and then worked as a Porter. In January 2018 I commenced training as a Signalman and recently qualified to work in Harmans Cross signal box. I intend to continue volunteering as a porter as well as a signalman.


My working life was spent in the UK shipping industry where I worked from apprentice to master mariner. My marine career not only included navigation but also fabric maintenance of the ship. After 15 years at sea I moved ashore into a marine personnel department and by retirement had been personnel director of Cunard Line and James Fisher.


I am standing for election as I believe that the Trust should be well represented by the working volunteer membership. The railway is going through a period of change with the ever increasing difficulties in recruiting and retaining volunteers and paid employees and with my personnel experience I can hopefully bring some new thinking to the Trust. Communications within an organisation is very important and is another area where I have knowledge and, if allowed, can assist the Trust and management improve this with volunteers and employees.

Term ends: 2020. Proposed by: Stuart Magnus. Seconded by: Mike Whitwam

Nick Coram

I'm and active trustee and volunteer. You'll often find me on the footplate but the majority of my volunteering takes place behind the scenes

My key focus areas are: development of rail connected engineering and storage facilities, strategic planning, volunteer engagement, project planning and process. I have a particular interest in improving our stations and customer experience. I'm one of a number of trustees who want tighter control of costs and a cautious approach to expansion.


With expansion to Wareham the next few years are vitally important. It's crucial to have a strong  experience team. Our community rail commitments are inescapable and maintaining a healthy balance with the Heritage Railway is vital. I believe the best way to do this successfully is to deliver the Wareham service ourselves.

I've managed many projects including replacing Swanage Station canopy, Swanage goods shed refurbishment, the new LCW workshop and new locker & signing on room for the operations department. 


I'm currently working on the development of rolling stock storage and maintenance facilities. This latest project aims to support our growing operation by proving the engineering infrastructure necessary for efficient maintenance of coaches and locomotives to the required high standard.  It will enable the railway to become more self sufficient , sustainable and develop new revenue by providing heritage engineering services to others.


During 2018 I've supported  the Cygnets and Heritage Coach groups on a number of projects. I lead the 'Loco & Rolling stock Facilities Group' and participate in the Members & Volunteers and Strategic Planning Groups. I drafted the Norden area strategy, started the Swanage Moguls Fund and secured a £ 75,000 grant for the N class to operate on the mainline.


If re-elected I will continue to serve the railway to the best of my ability. Thank you for your support.

Term ends: 2020. Proposed by: Mark Woolley. Seconded by: James Cox.

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