Published on: Tuesday, 11 June 2019
Last updated: Monday, 17 June 2019
Greater Anglia is to present East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) with a cheque for £22,000, following a hugely successful charity charter train run by the train operator on 18 May to raise money for the regional charity.
The company will also hand over one of the special "The EACH Express 3" train headboards, which was used on the rail enthusiasts' charity charter train, to EACH.
Jonathan Denby, Greater Anglia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, will make the presentations on Wednesday 12 June to EACH Corporate Fundraiser Vicky Matthews at Norwich station at 10.00 and Chair of Trustees John Pickering at Ipswich station at 12.15.
With more than 250 tickets sold, bids for a cab ride, a raffle on the day and money raised from the on-board catering on the train, the trip – which used two Class 37 diesel locomotives to run from Norwich to Ely, King’s Lynn, on via Cambridge to London Liverpool Street, then back up the Great Eastern Main Line to Norwich - exceeded all expectations.
It means that across the three EACH Express trips in 2016, 2017 and 2019, Greater Anglia has raised over £54,000 for the charity.
The combination of an extremely worthy and popular cause, combined with what may well have been a final 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 have been used on some weekday passenger services between Norwich and Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft since June 2015, but this summer they are due to be replaced by Greater Anglia’s new bi-mode trains.
The EACH Express 3 saw the diesels travel over the West Anglia and Great Eastern main line routes with which they were closely associated for much of their life (operating passenger trains from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s).
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 GA and the itinerary for the trip took the train quite close to all three hospices.
The charity has previously been chosen by GA employees as the recipient of charitable funds linked to the company's employee survey, as well as more localised fund-raising initiatives. In addition to its wider fund-raising 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 Greater Anglia said: "We're delighted to be able to present a cheque for £22,000 and "The EACH Express 3" train headboard to EACH, following the successful Class 37 railtour on 18 May.
“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 Greater Anglia 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 Greater Anglia, we care passionately about the communities that we serve. 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."
John Pickering, EACH Chair of Trustees said: “We’re obviously delighted to once again be benefiting from such a fantastic amount of money raised and would like to say a big thank you to Greater Anglia, as well as those who bought tickets for the special charter train. We have to raise over £6 million a year from fundraising, so the continued support of businesses like this is absolutely vital.”