Shortlisting for HRA Awards 2022

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Thomas and Lucy's efforts to raise money for our Centenary Development Programme gets shortlisted by the Heritage Railway Association for their annual awards for 2022.
The Downs Light Railway is delighted to be shortlisted for the Heritage Railway Association's Annual Awards for 2022. The Downs Light Railway was nominated in the Most Innovative Fundraising Idea category for Thomas and Lucy Isherwood's fundraising efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic and shortlisted by the nominations panel of the Heritage Railway Association. The HRA Awards Ceremony, the railways equivalent of the BAFTA Awards, will be held in March 2022. The winner will be announced at the awards ceremony in Birmingham.
During the early part of 2021, Thomas and Lucy nurtured an opportunity to raise significant funds for our development programme. Liaising with a local engineering business that gave Thomas work experience, they were given a target to raise donations within a three-month period. In return, the local engineering business agreed to match their funding by 20 times.

In between Thomas’s GCSE exams and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, they sort approval from the Downs Light Railway Trust to fundraise. They developed a fundraising strategy by themselves, produced fundraising flyers in consultation with the Trust, and setup an online fundraiser. They investigated various options for a fitness challenge to engage their audiences. They promoted the fundraising through their social media accounts, emails to their class peers and teachers, and notices around their school. Thomas setup a live stream for the event on YouTube, so that donors could watch the 24-hour cycle from home.

They set themselves an ambitious target of £2000 and exceeded it during the 24-hour cycle to achieve £2,350. The local engineering company honoured their match funding pledge, awarding the Downs Light Railway Trust with a donation of £47,650 to bring Thomas and Lucy’s fundraiser up to £50,000. This amazing achievement has helped us complete 1/4 of the funding required for our Centenary Development Programme.

Shortlist for the category

Awarded to the HRA Operating Member that has produced the most innovative fundraising project or scheme during the covid crisis.

  • The Class 502 Preservation Trust, for ‘Merseyrail 50th Anniversary - 50 Years of Progress’ book
  • Thomas and Lucy Isherwood, Downs Light Railway Trust, for ‘A brother and sister's success in securing major funding for their railway’
  • The Bluebell Railway, for ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ appeal to restore Horsted Keynes station

Editor Notes

  1. The Heritage Railway Association or HRA is a voluntary run trade association representing Heritage & Tourist railways, related Museums, Tramways, Cliff Lifts, Railway Preservation Groups and related organisations. More than 180 of its member organisations regularly open to the public, with 156 of these operating with passengers, although a few only give rides on special days. They have over 300 corporate members in total.
  2. The Downs Light Railway Trust is a corporate member of the HRA.
  3. The Downs Light Railway Trust's Centenary Development Programme aims to increase youth engagement in heritage railways, provide greater practical learning opportunities and strengthened community involvement. The programme hopes to realise these aims from 2025 when the Downs Light Railway is 100 years old.
  4. The Downs Light Railway Trust was previously recognised by the Heritage Railway Association in their 2021 Annual Awards for its contribution to youth engagement.
  5. The Downs Light Railway Trust was setup a charitable trust in 1983, registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Registration number is 513882.
  6. In August 2021, the Downs Light Railway Trust was registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration Number 1195660.
  7. The Downs Light Railway was started by The Downs School (Colwall), now The Downs Malvern, in the early 1920s and was formally established in 1925. At over 97 years old, it stands to be the oldest private miniature railway worldwide.
  8. The Downs Light Railway educates on average 15 children on each session. These children are aged between 7 and 18 years old. Dedicated sessions are provided to local educational establishments. General youth activities are open to all children.

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