I grew up in Teignmouth on the GW mainline and our road had a path down the cliffs and across the railway to the sea wall and beach. I would get to watch the trains passing and could hear them at night – although these were the likes of the Class 50’s and not steam! My parents are steam fans so we would have frequent trips to heritage lines and I guess this is where my interest in steam locomotives came from. I particularly remember watching the GW150 mainline runs passing along the Teignmouth sea wall in 1985.
I think one of the key things for me about steam locomotives is that you can get a glimpse of how they work. With the Duke you can see how the pistons drive the connecting rods and then the wheels – but there are hidden secrets in the Caprotti boxes and between the frames which drive the curiosity. Obviously, the power and the classic visual designs also help!
Having studied Mining Surveying I found on graduating that the mining industry had all but gone. So, I transferred the skills learnt into Land and Engineering Surveying. The mix of art and science that goes into creating a survey plan was a particular draw along with getting outdoors and able to do practical tasks. Within a few years I became a Director of our company and my existing rail interests drove me to develop the companies rail surveying department which now takes us around the country with teams out night and day. We surveyed the Dawlish Sea Wall as part of the Orange Army after it was washed away and recently Barmouth Viaduct for the upcoming restoration works.
I think of myself as hardworking and dedicated to a cause. I look to help others where I can and believe in working as part of a team to get the end result. My work in the rail industry gives me a good understanding of the health and safety requirements and planning required.
I became a member of the support crew attending working parties in 2017 and I have helped out at various open days and events to raise funds. In 2019 became a working party leader. The working party leaders are responsible for the safety of the volunteers and those around us, we maintain logs of works done and organise tasks so everyone gets the chance to learn about how the Duke works and goes together.
As Projects Principle I help the trustees and fellow Principles to look into specific tasks – this includes looking into new ideas for fund raising, sourcing particular items for the overhaul and running programme, looking at safety planning.
Updated February 2021