Today we carried out a key action in our involvement as trustees of the Derwent and Wye Valley Railway Trust.
The story of our day isn’t being told to criticise anyone at Peak Rail, but to highlight that any campaign needs to have all the elements in place if it is going to be effective.
For some time now, we have been raising a reasonable amount of money by having donation envelopes on the train and around the railway to raise funds towards our planned rescue and restoration of the derelict building on the down platform at Darley Dale Station. This has been successful in bringing in not only the donations themselves, but quite a lot of gift aid from people who had completed the declaration on the envelope.
I had produced a poster to raise the profile of these envelopes among visitors to Peak Rail. The trustees decided that we would launch our new posters to coincide with the busy Easter weekend at Peak Rail. Sue had arranged for the printing and laminating of the posters during the last week and today, we got up early and travelled up to Darley Dale armed with a staple gun and the posters themselves.
As we arrived there, the stationmaster, Ian, was on hand and popped out to see what we were up to. Our comings and goings also stirred up the curiosity of the signalman and as we spent the rest of the morning at the railway, of a number of other volunteers as well. The idea of the posters was really well received by everyone and we had a number of conversations about our progress on the behind the scenes work that we have been doing for a while now towards the bigger down building project.
We fairly quickly found suitable places to put up the huge A1 sized posters on both platforms and on the building itself.
We then went to Rowsley South station where the train was being prepared for its first run of the day. While I hopped aboard and put up some smaller A4 posters in each carriage of the train, Sue went to the station buffet for a couple of bacon cobs and cups of tea.We were surprised that she was initially overcharged for these, but no-one ever gets away with charging Sue too much for anything , so after the refund had been sorted out we got stuck in to breakfast.
Sue quickly spotted that there were none of the envelopes that we were promoting on the tables in the train and after a few enquiries, she discovered that there were some in the booking office on the platform. She brought out a handful and as the train made its way southwards.
I hopped off the train briefly at Darley Dale and handed a small pile of the envelopes to stationmaster Ian, so that he would also have a supply.
As Sue came back down the train from distributing the envelopes, she was handed a couple of them already filled and with the gift aid declarations completed. So it was well worth us making sure that they were handed out.
When we got back to Rowsley South, I popped into the booking office where Malcolm showed me that there were several boxes of envelopes in a cupboard. I took one of them onto the train where I left them with the Ticket Collector.
I remain hopeful that if the envelopes are actually on the train, there is more chance of them bringing in some donations than if they are sitting in a cupboard on the platform. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that ticket collectors know that they are a vital link in this fundraising campaign for the down building.
We had one of the large posters left over and intended to find a suitable location at Rowsley South station for it, but there didn’t seem to be a suitable location, so the spare poster is yet to be displayed. I am extremely keen to ensure that it is displayed. I have experience of an organisation having posters printed, but the event that they were promoting was a disaster because no-one got round to putting them up.
As these large posters cost a small fortune, it’s vital that they raise awareness of the down building project and bring in lots of money. However, I am convinced that this was money well spent. With goodwill from everyone involved in the process, these envelopes should start to bring in even more money in during the coming summer.
Then all we need to do is to raise the rest of the king’s ransom that it will cost us to bring the building back to life.
If you would like a copy of the Down Building Poster to support the campaign, click the link to download the PDF file (A4 size).