I was lucky enough to live close to a railway line in Nottinghamshire until I was 18. I could see and hear the engines working hard on the coal trains, a memory that was enhanced through a neighbour who was a driver at the local Kirkby-in-Ashfield shed. I can recall being on the footplate of an 8F at Kirkby-in-Ashfield shed and also being pulled by a Standard class 4 tank from Sutton into Nottingham. During my school years I joined the Railway Society and during 1967 and ‘68 was lucky enough to visit a number of sheds where steam continued to work. I have always been fond of Stanier engines, but I can also recall going to see the ‘fish train’ come through Sutton-in-Ashfield on summer evenings, which was usually pulled by a Brit. The BR Standards and particularly the Britannia’s became my favourite engines, both for their looks and sounds.
I have spent most of my working career working as a technical auditor in medium to large organisations. My work has spanned many aspects of corporate governance from accounting controls through to deeply technical areas. I am equally at home preparing or examining a set of accounts through to understanding deeply technical aspects of information systems (and particularly how to secure them). Having spent a number of years looking at how to secure banking and financial systems I am now Executive Chairman for ITSO Limited (a company that looks after the specification and security for a UK-wide smart-card system for public transport).
I joined the Trust in June 2014, and in August received an appeal to help out at the Great Central Railway Autumn Gala to meet the Trustees and Company Directors. I helped on the Duke’s stand on Loughborough Central station on 4th October and chatted to the Trustees and Directors that evening. Soon afterwards I was asked to pick up the reigns of looking after the Trust’s website when Nicola Warwick (the previous Media Principal) needed to allocate all of her time to another business initiative. At the Trust’s committee meeting on 30 October I was invited to assume the role of Media Principal, which I was very happy to accept.
As Media Principal I maintained the Trust’s website and the e-mail distribution list. That work involved ensuring that postings are suitably articulated with relevant graphical details where appropriate. The role involves some technical details, and it was a challenge for me to climb the learning curve, but this is something that I am reasonably familiar with and that I enjoy.
Subsequently I also picked up the responsibility for the finances of the Duke Trust, which also sees me keeping accounts for all of the income and expenditure. Whilst this is something that I enjoy less than the technology side, my time in business roles in accounting and auditing means that this is a natural extension for me. In 2016 my role was re-titled as Senior Principal to take account of my increased responsibilities.
There aren’t too many class 8 steam locomotives available for mainline use. As the pathing options for steam locos get squeezed by an ever busier railway the more powerful steam locos will be the ones most sought after to provide motive power for the specials that we like to see and travel behind. The Duke’s records set when it was last in operation prove that it is amongst the best steam locomotives that this country has ever seen. I am very keen to see the Duke back where it belongs; with a fully loaded train racing up any incline with ease. The guys building the P2 claim that they are building the most powerful steam locomotive for the UK. I firmly believe that the most powerful steam locomotive is already built, and we simply need to complete the major overhaul to get it back into reliable operation.
30 January 2016 (updated May 2021)