‘Jewel in the Crown’ - Leighton Buzzard Railway receives Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

  |  Published: Aug 3rd 2017

Volunteers at the Leighton Buzzard Railway received their prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, Helen Nellis, on Friday 28th July. The award is the equivalent to the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement, Queen’s Award for Technology or, for an individual, the MBE. The Lord-Lieutenant is Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in the county.

The award, in the 50th anniversary year of heritage operations, was accepted by one of the Railway’s longest serving members, Peter Hodges, and one of its youngest, Jamie Randall.  After the presentation guests and members enjoyed a ride to Stonehenge Works and back hauled by the newly restored locomotive ‘Pedemoura’, followed by lunch.

The award citation was made for ‘Fifty years of conserving England’s industrial railway heritage, in Bedfordshire’.

The Lord-Lieutenant cited the Leighton Buzzard Railway as ‘one of the jewels’ of Bedfordshire’s crown of tourist attractions, praising its all-volunteer status and its example of how volunteering can make an impact on the lives of people. Many of the Railway’s young volunteers have taken the skills passed on from older members into their workplace, including two of the locomotive crew, driver and steam engineer Ian Cliff and trainee fireman Jon Hopper both being train crew with the ‘other railway’ serving the town, London Midland.  During the course of her visit the Load Lieutenant met a number of the Railway’s volunteers including some who have been helping for 50 years and some of its more recent younger ones.

After presenting the award, the Lord-Lieutenant also presented a gift to Mervyn Leah another of the Railway’s long serving volunteers who has recently stepped down from as the Railway’s Marketing manager after 20 years in the role.  After 48 years of service, Mervyn continues to act as one of the Railway’s duty managers and as a guard.

Steve Doughty, Leighton Buzzard Railway

awards ceremony - photo credit Steven Doughty
group photo - photo credit Steven Doughty
Helen Nellis with LBNGR representatives - photo credit Steven Doughty
engine - photo credit Steven Doughty
award - photo credit Steven Doughty
All photos credit Steven Doughty
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