Finance team stages festive ‘Steam and Lights’ trains Christmas hamper raffles in aid of SOS appeal
Enterprising members of the Swanage Railway finance team are staging festive ‘Steam and Lights’ trains Christmas hamper raffles to raise money for the popular heritage line’s Coronavirus survival appeal fund.
The large festive hampers have been put together thanks to kind donations of items and money from Swanage Railway supporters, members of the Swanage and District Chamber of Trade as well as the public – with proceeds from the raffles going to the Swanage Railway’s ‘Save Our Service’ (S.O.S.) Appeal.
Raffle tickets are sold from a festively decorated booth on the platform at Swanage station before the departure of the two ‘Steam and Lights’ trains with the festive hampers being presented to the winners on the return of the trains to Swanage.
Festive disco wands are also being sold by the enterprising finance team to raise money for the Swanage Railway’s Coronavirus survival appeal fund.
A first for the Swanage Railway, ‘Steam and Lights’ trains have been running on selected evenings since Saturday, 5 December, 2020.
The decorated and multi-coloured lit six-carriage trains depart Swanage station at 5.15pm and 7.15pm, with the last of the festive trains running on Thursday, 31 December, 2020.
The idea for the festive hamper raffles came from Vicki Searle, one of the three members of the Swanage Railway’s finance team, while the hampers were made by Carina Lock, daughter of the Swanage Railway finance manager Lorna Lock.
A wooden beach hut was loaned by Mick and Sue Albsolom – both from Swanage – while the Swanage builders’ merchant Travis Perkins donated materials to help turn the hut into a festive booth for the Covid-safe selling of raffle tickets.
Volunteers John Piper and David Budd from the Swanage Railway’s estates department, under manager Pat Cattle, and volunteers from the heritage line’s telecoms departments put the booth together.
The Swanage Railway’s passenger services department installed a till for bank card payments till while Vicki Searle’s husband Jonathan decorated the festive booth.
Randy Coldham, the Swanage Railway’s volunteer fund-raising chairman, said: “This has been an amazing team effort with donations of gift items for the Christmas hampers coming from far and wide across the Swanage Railway family.
“I would like to say a big thank you to our finance team of Lorna Lock, Vicki Searle and Nichola Watts for all their dedicated hard work – as well as a big thank you to all those very kind people who have very generously donated gift items for the fund-raising ‘Steam and Lights’ hampers in the Swanage Railway’s time of need.
“Our ‘Steam and Lights’ trains are very important to the Swanage Railway because the profits from their operation go towards helping the heritage railway survive the potentially devastating economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” added Mr Coldham who is also a volunteer signalman on the Swanage Railway.
The Swanage Railway’s public steam train service resumes between Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage on Sunday, 27 December, 2020, and runs daily until Saturday, 2 January, 2020, with trains operating under the four steam trains a day Plum Timetable.
The Swanage Railway’s ‘Save Our Service’ (S.O.S.) Appeal stood at £341,148 as of Tuesday, 22 December, 2020.
The public can easily donate by phone to the ‘Save Our Service’ appeal by texting ‘SOS’ to 70470 to donate £10 which costs £10 plus a standard rate message or other amounts between £1 and £20.
Clearly marked ‘Save Our Service’ appeal, cheques can also be sent to the Swanage Railway Trust at Station House, Station Approach, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 1HB.
To make a ‘Save Our Service’ donation by PayPal, a Fast Payment through Internet banking or by a cheque in the post, visit www.saveourservice.co.uk while donations can also be made via the Swanage Railway’s Facebook page.
The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so, for a chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email email@example.com.
Story and photograph by Andrew P.M. Wright,
Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer