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Olly is the young volunteer of the year

 
Created on 05/05/2021 @ 10:32

 

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is celebrating after trustee Oliver Edwards was named the top young volunteer in the UK heritage railway movement.

Olly, 21, took the Lord Faulkner Young Volunteer of the Year accolade at the annual Heritage Railway Association Awards, triumphing from a three-strong shortlist that also included young members of the Severn Valley Railway and Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust.

Olly joined the railway in 2019 and his achievements in the short time since include leading a major piece of market research, helping to raise more than £140,000 as part of the W&LLR’s 2020 appeal made necessary by the Covid pandemic and increasing the railway’s social media presence by more than 25%.

He also found time to write a book about the line to raise further funds, and was elected to the railway’s board of trustees where he now takes the volunteer role of Marketing & Product Manager.

“I’m blown away to have won the award,” Olly said. “Thank you so much to my brilliant colleagues for everything they have done to support me in the two years I’ve been at the W&L - bring on much more to come. 

“I believe wholeheartedly in the ability of our movement to change lives if we work hard enough to get there. Heartfelt congratulations to the other two nominees too for being shortlisted.”

The W&LLR’s members’ newsletter The Earl was also highly commended in the HRA Awards. Launched in 2014 as a more frequent addition to the quarterly Llanfair Railway Journal, The Earl is published approximately monthly as a digital PDF sent to a mailing list.

However new issues can be produced almost immediately when the railway has news it needs to rapidly pass on to its members, and the newsletter also proved a very effective means for volunteers to keep in touch with the W&LLR during the Covid-19 pandemic when many were prevented from attending the railway by lockdowns.

“Olly has made a significant contribution to the Welshpool & Llanfair over the last couple of years,” said W&LLR chairman Steve Clews. “We were delighted when he was elected to the board of trustees and more recently appointed Product and Marketing Manager.”

W&LLR general manager James Brett commented that after a very difficult year for the entire heritage rail sector it was inspiring to see the range of achievements from railways across the UK.

“With such a high calibre of entrants, to be nominated in two categories, and to win one award, is a testament to all the hard work and dedication our team has put in over the past 12 months,” he said.

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway reopened for its 2021 operating season last Saturday. Details of the line’s selection of one and two-hour round trips are now available on the website at www.wllr.org.uk  and tickets can be pre-booked at https://wllr.digitickets.co.uk  

 

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