Charities benefit from Greater Anglia Class 321 Farewell

Published on: Thursday, 21 December 2023
Last updated: Thursday, 21 December 2023

Jonathan Denby (L) and Rossella Inguscio (R), Corporate Fundraiser at Havens Hospices

Jonathan Denby (L) and Rossella Inguscio (R), Corporate Fundraiser at Havens Hospices. Credit: Greater Anglia.

£7400 each for East Anglia's Children's Hospices, Havens Hospices, and the Railway Mission

Three charities are benefitting from Greater Anglia’s Class 321 Farewell charity charter train, which ran in the Spring. The special event was a huge success, raising £22,200 to be shared equally between the organisations involved – meaning £7400 each for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), Havens Hospices, and the Railway Mission.

The charities have all received their additional funds and Greater Anglia recently held photo calls with EACH and Havens Hospices to mark their positive collaboration. Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia, who organised the enthusiasts special, met up with Billie Nugent from EACH and Rossella Inguscio from Havens Hospices to highlight their positive partnerships.

The charter train attracted over 300 people for a trip from London Liverpool Street to Clacton, Walton, Harwich Town, Stowmarket, back to Shenfield, to Southend Victoria and finally back to London Liverpool Street, covering many of the core routes with which the Class 321s were closely associated for much of their life. The trip also included journeys over a number of loops and sections of track not normally used by scheduled passenger trains.

The Class 321 electric units were used on suburban and commuter services in East Anglia for over 30 years, but have now all been replaced by Greater Anglia’s brand-new Class 720 trains, which have a number of benefits for passengers including more seats, plug and USB points, enhanced performance characteristics and better accessibility arrangements. However, the Class 321s provided sterling service for over three decades, so the special trip provided an opportunity for enthusiasts and others interested in the end of an era, to take a final trip on them to many of the destinations they served during their operating life.

The event followed previous enthusiasts’ charity specials run by Greater Anglia in the region in 2016, 2017 and 2019 using Class 37 locomotives, Class 68 locomotives, and Class 37 locomotives respectively.

Jonathan Denby (L) and Billie Nugent, Corporate Fundraiser at East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

Jonathan Denby (L) and Rossella Inguscio (R), Corporate Fundraiser at Havens Hospices. Credit: Greater Anglia.

With hospices in Milton (Cambridgeshire), The Nook, near Norwich (Norfolk) and The Treehouse, near Ipswich (Suffolk) and offering support across those three counties and for families from Essex too, EACH provides services across a similar area to Greater Anglia. Havens Hospices supports families in a similar way in mid and South Essex. The Railway Mission is a charity which offers friendship and a listening ear to anyone connected with our nation’s railways – be that members of staff, customers or the wider public – during an individual’s time of loneliness, stress, depression, bereavement, or illness.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia said:

"We are delighted that our special Class 321 Farewell trip was such a success. It was a great way to mark the withdrawal of Class 321s from use at Greater Anglia, with new trains operating every single GA service from early April onwards. We’re glad to have raised funds for three charities with strong links to the Greater Anglia network - EACH, Havens Hospices, and the Railway Mission. They are all extremely worthwhile causes focused on the region we serve and supported by many of our employees.

“Our thanks go to everyone who joined us on the day, who helped generate such a significant sum, and to everyone at Greater Anglia, Network Rail, Eversholt Rail and others in the rail industry, who helped us organise and operate such an excellent tour. It was a superb event which provided a fitting end to the use of our Class 321s, was a great day out for rail enthusiasts, and raised a substantial amount for three key charities across our network.”

"We will continue to support the communities and areas we serve, ensuring rail always plays a positive role in the wider region.”