Sir William, Chairman of The Railway Heritage Trust, arrived at around 11.30 to be greeted and welcomed by Neil. It was his first visit to Glossop so he was particularly interested in the Duke of Norfolk/Howard family connections. He really liked our iconic lion! In his speech later he mentioned that he had always been intrigued that the line and station had been built privately without an Act of Parliament mirroring his own experience of building his own mile long railway on his home estate at Fawley Hill. Sir William proved to be a very amenable guest and spoke to many people at the event. He was accompanied by Andy Savage Executive Director of the RHT and Malcolm Wood the RHT Company Secretary. Future plans for work at the station were discussed. Sir William was given a gift of a framed picture showing the station in 1954 and in 2013. He intends placing this in his museum.
Also attending Mark Barker, Client and Stakeholder Manager for Northern in his last week of work for Northern before he retires. Mark will be much missed and Neil praised his involvement with FOGS over the years - the Christmas events in particular - and he was thanked for his support and for instigating the recent infrastructure changes. Mark was given a gift of a framed picture with a montage showing Mark at Glossop station on various visits. This and other gifts were imaginatively designed by Pall Marsh. From over the border came John Yellowlees, ScotRail's External Relations Manager also on his first visit to Glossop. The connection is through poems! John has taken up the idea of poems on stations and vibrant displays now exist at Largs and Wemyss Bay stations. John was given a gift of a picture showing a former Glasgow Blue Train - he has a soft spot for these! - travelling from Dinting to Glossop in 1985.
Flowers were given to Dawn Wolrich and Hazel Bonner from ACoRP - so nice to see them back! (You can visit ACoRP's Facebook page to see their photographs of the event) And to Jean Wharmby for her unstinting support too of FOGS. Paul Bigland, despite a broken ankle, managed to take some superb photos of the event as did FOGS' own John Kimpton.
Neil thanked everyone for attending and said it was an opportunity to thank local people as well as the Rail Industry for making the many improvements at Glossop station and now with the new display board these achievements and sucesses could be shared. So local people like Sue Astles, Chris Harris, Jimmy Melia, Pat Decor8, Joy Wheatley- Artist in Residence for the day- could deservedly share the honours too! As could Julian Gallagher, Derbyshire Police and Andy Collier BTP - so supportive and contributing much to making Glossop station a happy, safe and welcoming environment. The final gifts went to Theo - his birthday! I hope Paul Spencer, Theo's boss had a present for him too! Paul was very complimentary about the event. And a gift to Jean and Les White from Glossop Outside Market who have given many a plant to us! It was their 52nd wedding anniversary so a bottle of wine was given to mark this achievement! Les had quipped that the invitation saved him from having to take Jean out for lunch!!
We also welcomed Laura Stronge from Network Rail and Pete Gaskell, despite working the night at Dinting Box gave her a tour of the station, and an update on FOGS' progress. Paul Abell, Editor of Today's Railway Magazine was a welcome and very amenable first time visitor. Geoff Woods from Derbyshire Life magazine returned to update his article. It was also nice to see the support from fellow friends at Hadfield, Broadbottom, Chapel and Whaley Bridge stations. All were generous in their praise of the event!
AND THE FOOD!! Bunty and Jacqueline had pulled out all the stops offering home made tortillas, savoury scones - made by Caroline England - cakes and hot drinks. Served up under some time pressure by Bunty, Jacqueline and Penny Greenwood. Possibly their finest hour yet with food at a FOGS' event!!
Neil was also able to thank Linda Newman for her vision in 2005/2006 of what a rather sad Glossop station could become and her determination in the early years of FOGS to get a better Glossop station!! We are getting there! Mark, in his speech, commented that Glossop was now a " jewel in Northern's empire" which was much appreciated! FOGS' work goes on! As did a lot of washing up - Paul Kiddy's help gratefully received!! Theo left us with 30 extra Northern branded mugs so you will always be able to have a tea or coffee with FOGS!