Area Groups

Listed here are all the area groups with coordinator names:

  • Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire - Robin Addison
  • Cambridgeshire and the Fens - Peter Wright
  • East Midlands - Richard Allsopp and Allan Smalley
  • Essex - Richard Taylor
  • London - Richard Taylor
  • Midlands -  Barry Lycett
  • Norfolk and Suffolk - Nigel Ellis
  • North East - Nick Illingworth
  • Southend - Mick Scott
  • South West - Vacant
  • Rest of the UK - John Pearson
  • Overseas - Brian Hall

Many area groups have made great progress in mobilising their resources; some of their activities are documented here.

Cambridgeshire and Fens Group - 18th May 2024

At the courtesy of Friends of March Railway Station on Saturday 18th. May 2024, Cambs and Fens Group had a promotional stand on the platform during their open day. Prominent was a local promotional 'Coins on the Platform' feature. This attracted excited inquiries from younger children who encouraged their parents to add to the collection. Ultimately, it extended to approximately 15 square feet. Although this was not quite so extensive as last year, it gathered very worthwhile additional revenue. The first donations for next year's event arrived later and further donation of coins of whatever origin will be accepted with welcome. Sales of the 2025 calendar were buoyant and also the range of B17 jigsaws. An enjoyable effort held in pleasant warm weather. Just had to be careful of the draught created by the 'freightliners' as they sped to the docks! Valuable revenue for the 'Cambs & Fens Group's specific challenge to fund the 'Chimney Pattern Appeal'.

Cambridgeshire and Fens Group - March & DMRC talk, 1st May 2024

On the evening of 1st. May 2024, Cambs & Fens Group were guests of March & DMRC at St. Mary's church hall, March, to give a brief update on B17 progress and also speak about local historical railway incidents. The talk was well received by an audience of about 20 who afterwards showed their appreciation through sales and generous financial contributions to the B17 Chimney Pattern Fund.

Norflok and Suffolk Group - Mid Suffolk Easter Monday Steam Up, 21st April 2024

Back to our usual spot in the platform shelter for their Easter Monday Steam up, right where the two four wheeler coaches unload their passengers, and therefore excellent for footfall. This year, a different hired in loco did the honours, taking visitors up to the current end of the line as in previous year's. Attendance was good, sales of our merchandise and our display creating much interest from the local volunteers and the public. Thanks to Jenny Pearson and John Barnes for their valuable assistance on the day and to the very welcoming staff. John Pearson

Cambridgeshire and Fens Group - week ending 20th April 2024

On Saturday 20th. April Cambs & Fens Group spoke to Brambly Line members, after their AGM, about railway men buried in Station Road Cemetery, March, who had mostly died through horrific accident. Mainly footplate staff, but also guards, a PW Inspector, a boilersmith, a shunter and a labourer. Even a driver from a foreign railway who had returned to his home town and died in retirement. It was only a very small audience but receipts were useful.

Cambridgeshire and Fens Group - week ending 23rd March 2024

The week ending 23rd March 2024 was a busy one for the Cambs and Fens Group, going out to give two talks to local organisations and having a promotional stall at March's St. Peter's church. One generous donation was made to the Trust with modest sales of both B17 goods and second hand material. The church pitch fee was paid for by a local member.

Cambridgeshire and Fens Group - 5th March 2024, Westwood School

Cambs and Fens members were present at March & DMRC exhibition at Westwood School, March on Saturday 9th. March 2024. A steady stream of visitors asked about the project and bought our products, raffle tickets and donated goods. A worthwhile financial result was achieved and thanks are due to all those who helped with the event.

On Tuesday 9th January 2024, Cambs and Fens Group member Richard Munns visited the Cambridge branch of RCTS to speak about the origins and development of Whitemoor marshalling yard and its subsequent redevelopment as a Permanent Way materials depot for Network Rail. His illustrated talk was well received and lots of interesting questions followed. B17 SLT were rewarded with a useful contribution to funds.

December activity in Cambridgeshire and Fens Group

The Cambs and Fens Group of The B17 SLT have had a competition running over the 2023 period that concluded on Sunday 10th December. 

The competition was to accurately estimate how many bottle tops were packed into a jar, under the slogan of 'These tops have all lost their Bottle'. The fee was 50p a go and the prize was £50. This enabled The Trust to engage with many people who would not have otherwise contributed to B17 SLT funds and raised just short of £200. 

There were 704 tops in the jar and congratulations are due to Mr John Woodford of King's Lynn, who estimated 702 and was adjudged the winner.

On Thursday 7th December 2023, Cambs and Fens members set up a Christmas Tree in St. Peter's Church March in preparation for their Christmas Tree Festival which was on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December. It was one of over 50 trees in the Church erected by local organisations and individuals giving an overall feeling of calm as we approach the festive season. Although visitors on Friday were modest in number, on Saturday a continual stream of families and individuals made appreciative comments. Numerous contributions and purchases by the public made for a worthwhile financial contribution to B17 funds. A public vote for the best tree on display did not place our tree as the best, but it was highly rated.

On a wet Saturday morning, 18th December 2023, Cambs and Fens Group, The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust had a promotional stall in St. Peter's Church, March in association with their Christmas Fayre. Numerous visitors showed an interest in the project and modest, yet useful, sales were made and donations received. A number of small coins were deposited for next spring's 'Square of Coins' promotion.

Norfolk and Suffolk Group - Talk to Ipswich Model Engineering Society, Tuesday 7th November 2023

20+ members of the society were present to hear John Pearson and Nigel Ellis give a talk on the B17 project - how it started, the early days and the current engineering progress. At the end, some of the B17 branded projects on view at our publicity stand were snapped up, and togther with donations, made for a very succesful evening. Before the start, we were shown their superb new clubhouse, complete with a well equiped workshop and understood that they have just been nominated for an award for this - seeing the facility, I hope they are sucessful, as they are justified in their achievement.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Saturday 30th September 2023

Cambs and Fens Group were at St. Peter's church March for a promotional event organised by March Lions. The event was on the grass in front of the church and began in calm, warm sunny conditions. A steady stream of visitors engaged in conversation, made sundry small purchases and donations. However sales of B17 own stock of calendars and jig saws was a disappointment. The event came to a premature end when the sky clouded over and potential heavy rain threatened. Nevertheless some good contacts were made and a small but useful amount of revenue accrued.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Wednesday 27th September 2023

Cambs and Fens Group visited at short notice the March & District Model Railway Club's running night at March St. Mary's church hall. The opportunity was taken to update the club membership on recent B17 SLT activity. B17 stock of calendars, jigsaws and pens were put on sale realising some useful revenue. Two further invitations to be the guests of M&DMRC have been accepted. 

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - March Station 2nd September 2023

Cambs and Fens Group were guests of Friends of March Station on the 'Up' platform. A steady number of visitors enjoying the warm autumn sunshine, contributed small but useful amounts to The Trust's funds, buying a range of accumulated sundry items that had been donated and also raffle tickets and the new 2024 calendar. The Trust is grateful for the facilities provided by the Friends of March Station.


The B17 stand on March Station.

Photo courtesy of David.

Southend - Shoeburyness Model Railway Show - 5/6th August

A welcome return to this show after a gap of 4 years (you know why!). A new venue for this show, that unfortunately only allowed us a 6' table length rather than the 12' we prefer, but we made the best of the crowded space. Poor weather on the Saturday didn't seem to deter people as the venue was crowded from the start until mid afternoon. Sales from our stand were excellent with both B17 branded goods and second hand models selling well. On the Sunday, footfall was much reduced with the audience being more family orientated.

 Frank and Mick at the Shoebury show 050823  Mick and Frank, the stalwarts of our stand on both days. 

Many good conversations were had with visitors about our project and it was good to see a number of members taking the opportunity to say hello.

Thanks to Mick and Frank for organising the event, helped by John Pearson, John Barnes and Jeff Jackson. 

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Ramsey Rural Museum 1st/2nd July 2023

Ramsey Rural Museum has a very spacious grass display area for their annual Fire and Steam Show. This attracts historic fire engines, farm tractors and miniature steam traction engines from a very wide area. Through the financial generosity of a member and logistical assistance from a supporter, Cambs & Fens group were able to display their promotional stand. Footfall and receipts on Saturday were very modest but Sunday was much busier. Total receipts were respectable and two potentially useful contacts were made. Peter Wright.

PW BH at Yaxley 180623Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Yaxley Village Festival, 17/18th June 2023.

The site is an idyllic wooded grass paddock with a permanent building containing all the necessary facilities. Throughout the weekend, a steady flow of visitors stopped at the B17 stall to talk about the project. Sales of B17 branded products, raffle tickets and sundry items went well and a few generous donations were accepted.

The weather was sunny for the most part with intermittent very light showers until late on Sunday afternoon, when a ferocious thunderstorm, with torrential rain, broke. This put an end to all further efforts, apart from energetic activity by stall holders all round the ground safeguarding their sales stock and exhibits. Had it not been for early preparation for the downpour which had been forecast, we could have been in danger of being overwhelmed. Our thanks must be extended to members of the festival staff for their assistance and hospitality which was most welcome. Our thank you must also be extended to a local member who generously paid for the pitch fee.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 10th June 2023

Cambs and Fens Group members attended 'The Gala in the Park' at March on 10th June 2023. The weather was very sunny and oppressively hot, which probably resulted in a slight reduction in footfall compared to the previous year. Thankfully our allocated site was, apart from very early morning, in the shade of trees. 

The opportunity to display B17 nameplates, 'Spirit of Sandringham' and 'Helmingham Hall'  on a wooden support frame gave rise to some worthwhile conversations. The opportunity to display our nameplates on a wooden support frame gave rise to some worthwhile conversations. 

Receipts were respectable for this kind of event and sales of B17E items was encouraging. 

Thank you also, to our local member who had contributed the pitch fee. Peter

Southend and Essex Groups - Billericay Model Railway Exhibition 27th May 2023

It is always a pleasure to attend this exhibition and to have the opportunity of working alongside the enthusiastic band of Southend Group helpers. The morning started slowly, but soon picked up as people began to arrive, remaining busy though to the early afternoon when the numbers tailed off. The second hand model items were popular but the highlight was the sale of two of the remaining legacy re-purposed Hornby B17 locomotives. In addition to sales of our merchandise, sales of raffle tickets were particularly strong with John Barnes leading the way in persuading people to try their luck and support our project at the same time. It was good to meet a number of B17 SLT and SEERS members who stopped by to chat. Thanks to the Billericay Club for a well organised event and the seemingly unlimited supply of free tea, coffee and cake! My thanks to the following members for helping out - Frank Carter, Mick Scott, Jeff Jackson and John Barnes. Richard Taylor.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 20th May 2023

On Saturday, 20th May 2023 the Cambs and Fens Group had a pleasant morning in spring sunshine outside St. Peter's Church, March, talking to the public about the project. Modest receipts were nevertheless a worthwhile addition to funds.

Essex Area Group - Colne Valley Railway Mini Gala 13th May 2023

This was an event first put on last year and clearly the Railway had learnt from the previous year's experience. Well supported by the public, there were a good number of visiting miniature steam locomotives, a number of traction engines, whilst the 'full' size railway was running a regular service using the tube wagon hauled by hired in loco 'Swordfish'. This service used the platform we were located on and enabled those waiting for the next train, and those alighting to visit us, buy our various products and raffle tickets, and learn about the project. My thanks to Jenny Pearson and John Barnes for their support.

Swordfish hauling tube wagon at CVR 2023 Swordfish being rewatered 2023
Swordfish hauling tube wagon Swordfish taking on water.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 13th May 2023

Cambs and Fens Group are grateful to FoMRS for a complimentary position on the U003 Peters coin rectangleP platform at March station. An annual feature of this event is the Cambs Group's 'Square of Coins' promotion. Throughout the past year, local supporters have been encouraged to donate coins to this activity. The square this year was substantially bigger than last year, up to about 18 square feet and also more lucrative. Hopefully this will continue next year and we thank all those who made donations beforehand and also the casual visitors, some with their children, who contributed on the day.

Model B17 61643 from the Ian Holmes legacy was demonstrated on a March Station layout. 

Despite railway passenger traffic being seriously disrupted throughout day, items across the whole spectrum were sold. B17 tea towels, books and magazines, railway hardware and railway model items all made for a respectable financial result. 

There were substantial donations of saleable material. These included a Bachmann OO model diesel locomotive No. 66187 and a large collection of Arsenal football club match programmes.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 29th April 2023

The Cambs and Fens group attended March Lions event outside St. Peter's Church, March on Saturday, 29th April. The event was blessed with bright early spring sunshine with no wind. Some interesting conversations were conducted. Receipts were modest but welcome.

Suffolk and Norfolk group - Mid Suffolk Easter Sunday Steam Up, 9th April 2023

Back to our usual spot in the platform shelter for their Easter Sunday Steam up, right where the two four wheeler coaches unload their passengers, and therefore excellent for footfall. This year, a hired in loco, 'Wissington', did the honours, taking visitors up to the current end of the line. Attendance was good, sales of our merchandise and second hand models went well and an excellent time was had by all. It was also good to see our member, Nigel, who came to visit. Thanks to Jenny Pearson and John Barnes for their valuable assistance on the day and to the very welcoming staff of the railway. John Pearson

Middie 2023 Wissington

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Nene Valley Railway, 7-9th and 15-16th April 2023

The major attraction at the Nene Valley Railway over Easter and the following weekend was the visit of A4 60007 'Sir Nigel Gresley'. She looked very smart in a new blue livery and certainly drew in the crowds. Teams of members, mainly from C&F Group, manned the B17 SLT promotional stand on the platform at Wansford which attracted much interest from visitors. Receipts were very worthwhile and many thanks to the member who contributed by paying the pitch fees.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Ramble, Wednesday 12th April 20223

In variable weather, a small group of members of 'The Railway Ramblers Association' were conducted on a walk from March station to almost Ring's End viaduct, just short of Guyhirn. The railway traffic and railway sites were pointed out during the walk. Of particular interest was the memorial to 9 RAF air men, who all lost their lives in 1942 when their Wellington bomber crashed on Whitemoor 'Up' hump. A modest but useful sum was raised towards the B17 project.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Probus Club talk 4th April 2023

the morning of Tuesday 4th April 2023, Cambs and Fens Group talked to March Probus Club about the history of B17s and progress to build a new example. Considering the smallness of the attentive audience, receipts were very respectable.

Cambbridgeshire and the Fens Group - Monday 13th March 2023

Members of Brampton U3A [Transport Group] visited March to explore the town's railway heritage. Local March B17 SLT members provided transport for the tour of facilities, past and present, and to give a commentary. Starting at the extensive station and with the assistance of Friends of March Railway Station [FoMRS], access was gained to buildings on the 'Up' platform where FoMRS have their railway layouts, museum displays and library. The 'Down' side buildings were recently modernised and these were also included. From the vantage point of the station footbridge, former and present buildings were pointed out. Sites of signalboxes were visited, Norwood Road overbridge was a vantage point to view the former Whitemoor Junction and marshaling yard. Various former railway housing establishments were passed and then along the road that ran alongside the extensive former railway engine sheds and yards. Finally to Twenty Foot, the northern extremity of Whitemoor yard. A walk to the memorial in Whitemoor that honours the crew of an RAF Wellington bomber that crashed in the yard during WWII concluded the tour. 

The whole party then retired for soup and bread rolls with hot drinks.

Norfolk and Suffolk Group - Visit to Clare Castle Country Park

John Pearson and John Peat visited Clare Castle Country Park on 14th March. In the shadow of the remains of Clare Castle lies the station buildings of the what was the Stour Valley line. Whilst the track is long gone, a casualty of the Beeching cuts, the main buildings have been restored. The main station building now houses offices and a delightful cafe, the latter serving excellent refreshments. On the opposite platform, the waiting room houses a wonderful information centre, complete with the history of the line with a well produced video and a wonderful N gauge layout showing Clare station as it was in the 50s. To our delight, we found a model B17 was available to run on the line - B17s did frequent the line.

Clare Station Clare station as it is now with the two platforms, the cafe is on the left platform and the information centre on the right. Behind the photographer is the restored goods shed, compete with crane - this is now a venue for hire for functions.
N gauge layout showing Clare station as it was. A very detailed and accurate model. JP2 Clare station model with B17
JP2 N gauge 61664 Liverpool A closer shot of B17 61664 'Liverpool'; the signal box now no longer exists but the Trust understands that there are plans to constuct another in the correct location.

An even closer shot showing the loco details.


Photos by John Pearson and John Peat.

JP1 N gauge 61664 Liverpool 2

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Saturday 11th. March, 2023 

Our display and sales stand at the March & District Model Railway Club exhibition was a considerable success. Public attendance at the exhibition was a record by a considerable margin and during the morning there were so many people attending that it was difficult to move around. The B17 stand attracted many interested persons who listened to details about the project and made generous financial contributions. At least one gentleman expressed interest in joining as a member. Some good prices were paid for the models and publications which contributed to a very worthwhile financial benefit to Trust funds.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - a couple of items to conclude 2022

A conversation with a local wood turner revealed he was making some freelance engine chimneys on his lathe. A visit to the workshop revealed that his chimneys were elongated, approximating to the proportions of Victorian engines and suited for use as candle sticks. On being informed of the B17 project, he offered to turn a chimney of similar proportions to a Sandringham. Working dimensions were scaled down to quarter size and turned to form a bowl. The finished bowl has been a prominent item on local B17 promotional stalls and has been used to receive welcome donations of small change. It has stimulated several conversations.

In 2021, The Trust were given a large collection of 1" wood screws, still in their original boxes. The boxes were deteriorating and the screws going rusty. However, they were used as the basis of competition to guess how many screws were in the large glass sweet jar. This raised a considerable number of competitors. The competition closed just before Christmas and the screws counted. The number of screws was 3,475. Two ladies, Judy Bungay and Lore Istrate, at the Yaxley event independently estimated 3,500. Both shared the £50 prize that was on offer.

B17 chimney donations bowl How many screws loose

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - St Peter's Church March, Christmas Tree Festival

On Friday/Saturday 10th/11th December 2022 St. Peter's Church, March held its popular and colourful 'Christmas Tree Festival'. Many trees prepared by local businesses and social organisations were displayed, along both sides of the two church side aisles. The trees made a very spectacular sight, especially during the twilight of late evening. Many hundreds of local townspeople visited the church to vote for the most popular tree. Initially, Cambs and Fens Group had its usual promotional display in the church hall, but late on Friday, at the suggestion of the very supportive vicar, was invited to move into the main body of the church. Although sales were quite modest, many direct donations were made to support The Trust. Quite a number of interesting and rewarding conversations were held about local and family railwaymen. Eventually, the total receipts accumulated to a very respectable total. The pitch fee was offered by supportive local member.

Essex Group - 7th December, Christmas Lunch

After a gap of three years, it was decided to restart the Essex area Chritsmas lunch. Due to the short notice, numbers were low as it clashed with an event in the Southend Area, but those who did attend were able to get updates on the latest products, see the latest range of postersillustrating both the locomotive history and the project, and to talk to our Chairman, Brian Hall. The venue, at Maylands Golf club in Brentwood, was excellent and those who attended througjy enjoyed the event, which we plan to repeat annually.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group

Saturday morning 19th November 2022, was another opportunity for the Cambs and Fens Group to attend another in a series of events at March, St. Peter's Church. On a damp and dismal morning, the opportunity to be inside the Church was welcome. Grateful for modest receipts from numerous small sales and donations. Thanks again to the local member who paid the Church pitch fee.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - talk to Age Concern Werrington on 8th November 2022

Cambs and Fens Group addressed a small but appreciate audience in the community room of a residential block at Werrington, Peterborough. Considering the size of the audience, the receipts were most gratifying.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Talks on 25th and 26th October

Cambs and Fens Group were guests at talks on two consecutive days - 25th and 26th October 2022. Both had modest but generous audiences.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Trust were at March Library to talk to 'Engage at the Library'. This is a regular monthly meeting open to the general public.

On Wednesday evening ,the Trust addressed members of March & DMRC at March St. Mary's Church Hall. Here the audience were all keen modellers and had numerous retired railway men in the audience; not only March men but also from Temple Mills. Attention was drawn to the copy of 'The Spirit' hanging on the club's notice board. A good omen! Both groups indicated that they would welcome further talks and updates on the project in the future.

Essex Group - East Anglian Railway Museum, 23rd October 2022

A local event for Essex, the day was beset with a number of heavy rain showers, but nevertheless still attracted a reasonable crowd. There was plenty of action with all three of the Museum's steam locomotives operating giving unlimited rides all day, including double-headed and top and tail formations.

The restoration shed was open where visitors could get to see the work being undertaken on their other engines, including the flagship N7 69621, which is currently undergoing a major overhaul which it is hoped will be completed in 2024, that being 100 years since the locomotive was built.

Our stand was based in the Goods Shed which whilst a great location in itself, did not attract many visitors, being off the main thoroughfare. Consequently our takings were modest, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable day and gave Richard Taylor and Nigel Ellis the opportunity to engage with a number of members and visitors.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Grant for the Buffers Appeal

After being involved with the collection and delivery of the locomotive buffers to the B17 workshop, the Cambs and Fens Group have a special interest in the 'Buffer Restoration Appeal'. So when they were asked by 'March Lions' to suggest a local charity requiring funds, the 'Buffer Appeal' was nominated. To enhance the application, a matched funding offer was proposed. On Wednesday 12th. October 2022, the Lions approved a grant of £100 and the local B17 Group members quickly subscribed towards their part of the award offer.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 10th October 2022, Brampton Transport Group

Peter Wright spoke to a tiny audience in a splendid atmosphere. What they lacked in numbers, they made up for in enthusiasm and generosity. The subject was March - a Railway Town and also the B17 project. The meeting culminated in a flurry of sales, donations and requests for information.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 12th September 2022, March Rotarian Club

A small, but attentive, mixed audience from March Rotarian Club provided a superb meal and drinks to member Peter Wright before he spoke about the history of March Station and the progress of the B17 project. Modest but welcome receipts were accepted for The Trust and Peter was congratulated on the content of his address.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 10th September 2022, Friends of March Railway Station 

FoMRS decided their autumn event would align with Heritage Weekend - a national event. They exhibited posters, distributed handouts and a press release was issued before Network Rail announced that due to engineering work there would be no trains at March that weekend. Coupled with the sad demise of HM The Queen, this event seemed to be at a disadvantage. However, although it seemed strange to be on a the 'up' station platform with no trains or passengers, the event was surprisingly busy. A substantial purchase of model railway equipment and sales of the new 2023 calendar made for a buoyant start. Additional model equipment was also brought in by visiting members. Some s/hand railway books sold at good prices. Raffle ticket sales were useful and numerous small donations were accepted including one heavy pot of small coins ready for next Spring's 'Square of Coins' on the station platform attraction. Bob Caldecoat brought along his 'O' gauge custom built model of 61640, which was displayed to the delight of many visitors. Also displayed, for the first time, was a black painted wooden bowl which was an accurate quarter size representation of a B17 chimney. This worked well as a focal point for donations. Held in warm, late summer sunshine, this event was most successful, despite the adverse circumstances. Many thanks to FoMRS for their hospitality.

Worksop 030922

East Midlands - 3rd September 2022

The East Midlands group attended a Model Transport Event in Worksop. A worthwhile publicity event, signing up two new members.

The picture (right) shows part of the display advertising the Trust with member Richard Allsopp.



Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 18th August 2022, St Ives Corn Exchange talk

Thursday, 18th August 2022 at the Corn Exchange, St. Ives, members of COPE (Cambridgeshire Old Peoples Experience} gathered to listen to Peter Wright talk about the history of March railway station. He discussed the reasons for such a large station in a comparatively small town, its traffic, accidents, decline and recent refurbishment. He concluded with a brief review of the B17 project. A range of B17 items were for sale and modest receipts were achieved. The leaflets that were distributed stimulated a very substantial subsequent donation. This made the event one of the most worthwhile that Cambs and Fens has ever attended.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 9th July 2022, March Bacon Butty Festival

St Peter's in March held their annual 'Bacon Butty Festival' on the grass in front of the church. The weather was tropically hot as the sun beat down from a clear blue sky. Fortunately, the B17 promotional stall was sited in the shade of a large beech tree which gave some relief from the heat. There was a steady stream of visitors to the Festival and an accumulation of sales and small contributions from the public made a worthwhile total. 

[One unwanted donation came from within the boughs of the tree and made a considerable impact on the display!]

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 2nd/3rd July 2022, Ramsey Fire and Steam

Ramsey Rural Museum is a farming museum near Ramsey. It is a large site with many acres of space. Their Fire and Steam show featured fire engines, ancient and modern, miniature steam traction engines and lorries, old motor cars and old cycles. Although public attendance seemed modest, a steady stream of visitors were attracted to the B17 SLT stand. Some interesting conversations were conducted. However, sales and receipts were modest but a valuable contribution to funds.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 18/19th June 2022 Yaxley Village Fete

Public attendance on Saturday was affected by heavy intermittent rain. However useful sales were achieved. Torrential overnight rain cleared and Sunday morning began bright and sunny, although this became overcast later. Despite a much higher public attendance on Sunday receipts were similar to Saturday. However, a useful accumulation of funds over the two days made the event worthwhile. The Trust is grateful to a local group member who subscribed to fund the pitch fee.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 4th June 2022

'Gala in the Park' organised by March Lions to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty. Public attendance increased steady throughout the day and the B17 team had some lengthy conversations with interested members of the public. Modest but useful receipts were achieved. Pitch fee donated by local member.

Southend and Essex Groups - Billericay Model Railway Exhibition - 28th May 2022

It was good to be back with our stand at this exhibition after a three year gap because of a certain interruption! After a slow start, the number of people coming through the doors increased substantially, until quietening down in the afternoon. Good sales of our merchandise, legacy and second hand items were recorded, but the starring role went to James Matthews who, having been told of the record number of raffle tickets sold on one day at the exhibition at Alexandra Palace in January, took it on himself to sell as many raffle tickets as he could. Although not as high as that number, he was not far short with over £100 worth being sold! The stand was manned by Mick Scott, Frank Carter, James Matthews, Eddie Savage and Richard Taylor. Thanks to all for a successful day.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 24th April 2022

St. George's Fayre at March is a street party in the centre of the town when all of the main road and market place are cordoned off for pedestrians only. Multiple and varied stalls lined the streets and many people supported the event in bright warm spring sunshine. B17 SLT had its promotional stall outside St. Peter's Church and many small sales, raffle ticket purchases and donations accumulated to made a modest but useful contribution to B17 funds. The pitch fee paid to the Church was contributed by a local member.

North East Group - 23rd April 2022 CTL Seal's Open Day

The North East Group's Area Leader Nick Illingworth helped man the Trust's display at the above event, and at the end took the A3 and A4 laminates off the chassis and has started to populate the display board near to the two new build projects. The group aims to keep this display up to date, whilst their next task is to paint the newly acquired container a shade of green - now which shade will it be?

CTL Seal Display Board

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 9th April 2022

On Saturday 9th April, the Cambs and Fens Group attended St. Peter's Church, March for their Easter Market. The event was held in bright spring sunshine. The usual display of merchandise was available and a steady number of visitors asked about progress. Modest but useful revenue was raised, principally through the sale of mugs and raffle tickets. Even before the display was prepared, one benefactor promised a generous donation and towards the end an elderly lady customer was asking for information about her stationmaster grandfather. She was surprised that by Monday a telephone call promised her an outline of his career and an offer of further research. The pitch fee was again paid for by a local member.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group -  21st March 2022. Talk to The Peterborough Farm Machinery Preservation Society

Peter Wright, assisted by Richard Munns, talked to The Peterborough Farm Machinery Preservation Society at Childers Hall, Station Road, Whittlesey. An audience of about 60 gentlemen and one lady, listened attentively as Peter told them about how March grew from a tiny hamlet in the early 1840s to become established as a major railway centre of national importance some 40 years later, and then by the late 1920s was a modern world showpiece railway installation. After a break, Peter went on to speak about the B17 project and its progress. Interesting questions from the floor afterwards, and personally with the displays, showed a keen level of interest in the subjects from the farming fraternity. A generous fee and sale of B17 raffle tickets and merchandise made for a worthwhile event.

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - 28th January 2022

Talk to the Local NHS Retirement fellowship.

Thursday, Jan 28th, saw the first B17 Trust event of the year for the Cambs and Fens Area Group, when Group Leader and Trust Historian Peter Wright spoke to the local branch of the NHS Retirement Fellowship. In what was a highly engaging and thoroughly researched talk, Peter spoke principally on the topic of ‘March - a railway town’ - but then followed up by introducing the audience both to the B17s themselves and to the Trust’s progress in constructing the 74th member of the class. Peter succeeded in bringing the subject to life for the mostly female audience - as can be seen from their reactions in photos. Afterwards, several people came forward to say how much they had enjoyed the talk, so much so that Peter was invited to repeat the talk in future. Funds were raised from the sales of Trust merchandise afterwards. Information about the B17 project was on display along with sale goods.

Peter Talk 1 Peter Talk 2
The hosts introducing Peter - an excellent view of the stand, with many B17 branded products on display.

A section of the audience with Peter.

Both photos courtesy of Nick Illingworth

Cambridgeshire and the Fens Group - Presentation to B17 Driver

Retired March driver Eric Green will be 100 years old later this year and Peter Wright spoke to him briefly about his career. He liked B17s - "Fast and strong" he said, preferring the small tender variety over those with standard LNER tenders. He expressed a particular affection for 61620 'Clumber'. It was decided that on behalf of 'The Trust', to present him with a framed photograph of 61620 in preparation for his milestone birthday.

An interview on his experience's is hoped for soon.

Note: Unfortunately this won't happen as Driver Eric Green died peacefully in his chair on Monday evening. Born 1st. September 1922. Died 28th. March 2022. Began his railway footplate career April 1940. Sad that he didn't quite make his 100th. birthday. 

61620 Clumber picture for Driver Green

Photograph in frame (61620 running into Ely with an 'Up' express), provided by Tony Brzosko.

Main photo courtesy of Richard Munns


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