As each edition of 'the Friends' Newsletter becomes due I always get caught out and have to get it done in a bit of a rush. I usually start off well, shortly after the previous edition has been published, by sorting out something for the 'Taking a Look Back' piece and even get it typed out, but then I sit back and think, 'Oh there's plenty of time'.
Before I know it I'm about a week before the publication date and another Newsletter is due out. It just goes to show how four months flash by I suppose. Then it's a quick read of the last edition to remind me how far we had progressed with our various projects and then back to the keyboard...
Progress has been very good just lately as our regular team of Bob, Charlie, Graham, Steve and I have had a boost with the help of Jake, our newest recruit. We are impressed with his skills and very much hope he sticks with us and doesn't drift away to a more glamorous department!
On a very sad note, I have just heard that Nigel Jones, a long time 'Friends' supporter has passed away. Nigel joined 'the Friends' right back at the start and has been a regular sponsor of various projects over the years in addition to paying his membership 'subs'. He was a notably jovial character who was always ready with a smile and a chuckle when talking to his friends, always saw the best in things and never put anybody down. He was a thoroughly likeable chap but not one to talk about himself very much, which makes it difficult to write about his life away from the railway.
He always attended every gala which he was very enthusiastic about. It was very sad to go to the recent Autumn Steam Gala, which took place just ten days after his funeral, and not be able to chat to him there. For me the Galas will never be quite the same. He will be very much missed at Kidderminster Town Station.
Our deepest sympathy goes to his wife and other members of his family.
The recently acquired G.W.R gas lamp post has now been painted and erected at the foot crossing by the signal box. It is to be fitted with an electric lamp with a green and white enamel shade to match the one outside the signal box, which has required making a 'swan neck' top for it.
Nigel Hanson kindly provided an original cast iron ornamental socket to fit on top of the post, together with the required length of pipe, threaded at both ends. Bob and your editor heated and bent the pipe into a swan neck and Dave Grainger from the museum obtained a cast iron replica finial elbow for the top of the swan neck made to Bob's pattern. Charlie did the painting and Pete Maddicks will bring in the electrics - and all to provide a bit of light for the Belmond Pullman people.
Dave Grainger also obtained three more 'Litter' cast iron signs made to my pattern. These are not authentic G.W.R items. I have looked at numerous books on Great Western lines and cannot find a single litter bin on any photos therein. I assume they did not have litter bins! If anyone knows different and can supply photographic evidence I would be very glad to hear from them. Roland Bull is getting some fence posts made from rail which will form a barrier at the bottom of the platform ramp. The present barrier has no gate and I have been asked to make a pair of spear top gates to go there for the benefit of the Belmond Pullman people who need access.
They also require a second lamp to light their way and we have a yard lamp post and 5 burner top (converted to electricity) that was destined to go by the turntable but is not now needed as the modern diesel depot had overwhelmed any 'heritage' atmosphere in that area. Together the two lamps and gated fence should make access to the platform safe and brightly lit. Gone are the days when railwaymen wandered around in the gloom with just an oil hand-lamp to light their way.