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Friends of Minehead Station (FoMS) hit their £500,000 fund-raising milestone on 3 August 2019 Published: 3rd August 2019
Friends of Minehead Station (FoMS) hit their £500,000 fund-raising milestone on 3 August 2019

 

Some 22 years ago, the then secretary of the Friends of Minehead Station (FoMS), the late David Perry, persuaded the FoMS committee that it was time to have a purpose-built sales outlet on Minehead Station platform to sell second-hand books and other railway memorabilia in order to raise funds for the station’s ongoing restoration and maintenance, and so relieve the financial burden on the West Somerset Railway (WSR) plc.

Recently, Dave Perry has been much quoted again by FoMS members as having jokingly said at the time: “If we can take £10 a day, then we shall be laughing!”

Now, after operating for 21 years, the total monies raised by the “Halt” reached an astonishing £500,000 at 10.50am on Saturday 3 August – a truly epic and laudable achievement! 

But what is all the more surprising, however, is that all the money raised is due to the kindness of people who have donated their books and other items to be sold, plus the FoMS ‘weather proof’ volunteer staff who have looked after the outlet over the years. All of the monies raised have gone back into keeping Minehead Station looking as good as it does today.

A huge number of projects have been undertaken by FoMS at Minehead station over this period, including:

  • A new fence around the station;
  • Replacing the chimneys on the Grade II listed building previously demolished for safety reasons;
  • Tarmacking the platform and locomotive yard car park;
  • Painting the very long canopy at the station (twice);
  • Refurbishing the station’s toilets (twice);
  • Looking after the flower beds and providing hanging baskets during the summer months;
  • General maintenance around the half-mile long platform and even longer grassed and hedged areas on the site;
  • Funding refits for the Buffer Stop shop and the Turntable Café;.
  • New tables for customers to use outside the Café;
  • Two extensions to the storage space for Readers Halt stock;
  • Very recently, almost £100,000 has also been provided for projects away from Minehead to help the railway’s infrastructure with new track and bridge repairs between Minehead and Bishops Lydeard. This was a “one off” donation by FoMS;

Coincidentally, the total money raised by FoMS during its long, 23-year history reached £600,000 (including the Readers Halt contribution) a couple of weeks ago!   

Commenting on this momentous achievement, Chairman of FoMS Martyn Snell, said:

“Little did we realise the huge financial tap which David Perry was opening at the time. He would be so proud to have seen what has been achieved in and around the station since ‘Readers Halt’ first started in business. 

“Without that first move and the donations of stock plus the hard work of the volunteer staff, the money raised would not have come into our coffers.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has donated their unwanted items and time to us in any way to help keep the WSR station at Minehead looking spic and span!”

WSR plc Vice Chairman Mark Smith, who was the WSR’s Managing Director when FoMS was formed and also gave permission for ‘Reader’s Halt’ to be built at Minehead station comments: “The well know phrase that ‘From small acorns do grow might oaks’ seems very appropriate here!

“FoMS have done a truly magnificent job over the years in not only maintaining Minehead station, but also supporting the railway in its hour of need too.

“I, and the whole of the West Somerset Railway family, applaud their fantastic achievement in raising so much money for the good of the railway, and naturally wish them well for the next half million hopefully!”