£20,000 raised for EACH!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Abellio Greater Anglia is to present East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) with a cheque for £20,000 following a hugely successful charity charter train run by the train operator to raise money for the regional charity.

The company will also hand over one of the special "The EACH Express" train headboards, which was used on the rail enthusiasts' charity charter train, to EACH.  Head of Corporate Affairs for AGA, Jonathan Denby will make the presentations to EACH trustee Ann Monks on Monday 6 June at Norwich station at 10.00 and Ipswich station at 12.30.

With 200 tickets sold, bids for two cab rides, a raffle on the day and money raised from the on-board catering on the day, the trip - using two Class 37 diesel locomotives to run from Norwich to Ely and back, then from Norwich to London Liverpool Street and back on April 30 - exceeded all expectations.

The combination of an extremely worthy and popular cause, with a rare opportunity for those taking part in the trip to enjoy journeys behind Class 37 locomotives across some of their old "stamping grounds", proved to be a great attraction. The Class 37 locomotives are usually used on some weekday passenger services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft. Although they have been a common sight in East Anglia throughout their 50 years of operation, it is over 30 years since they were regularly in use on passenger services on the Norwich to Ely and Norwich to London routes, so a chance to sample them on "home turf" again was a big draw. On the day, all went well and the feedback from passengers on board was positive.

With hospices in Milton (Cambridgeshire), Quidenham (Norfolk) and Ipswich (Suffolk) and offering support across those three counties and for families from Essex too, EACH provides services across a similar area to AGA and the itinerary for the trip took the train quite close to all three hospices. The charity has previously been chosen by AGA employees as the recipient of charitable funds linked to the company's employee survey, as well as more localised fundraising initiatives. In addition to its wider work, the charity is currently raising money towards the nook, a new hospice for Norfolk to succeed Quidenham.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Abellio Greater Anglia said: “We're delighted to be able to present a cheque for £20,000 and "The EACH Express" train headboard to EACH, following the successful Class 37 railtour.  We hoped that we would be able to raise significant funds for EACH by running this special trip, but the event exceeded everyone's expectations.  We would like to thank everyone who bought tickets and joined us on the day, raising even more money from the raffle and on-board catering. We also very grateful to all the AGA employees who made this event happen. The success of such initiatives depends on the commitment and effort of many people, without whom they would simply not be possible. We're also grateful for the support of Direct Rail Services (who own the locomotives and carriages involved) and Network Rail for their assistance.

“At Abellio Greater Anglia, we care passionately about the communities that we serve. For as long as we are running train services in the area, we will continue to play our full part in supporting the region, both in the way we develop and operate train services, and in the way we take a wider role in East Anglia, supporting a variety of charitable, arts, sport, tourism and business initiatives."

Ann Monks, EACH trustee, said: “I am thrilled to accept this very generous cheque from Abellio Greater Anglia on behalf of EACH and “The EACH Express” headboards – which are lovely. I would like to thank everyone at the company for their support and hard work organising this hugely popular event. EACH cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across East Anglia and is a lifeline to so many families at an unimaginably difficult time. The specialist care they provide is vital to so many families in our community and I am very proud to be a Trustee of such a worthwhile and special charity. This money will allow the charity to continue these vital services to local families at a time when they need it most.”