Since 2004, a small group of L&B members in the Lancashire/Cheshire area, including the conurbations of Liverpool and Manchester, with a common interest in supporting the L&B Trust and spreading knowledge about the line, have got together informally to organise events.
Compared to some other local L&B groups, we have comparatively few members - about 60 within reasonable travelling distance. During that time, we have tried different forms of activity. We have held informal discussion meetings over tea and cake in people’s homes, we organised a few evening lectures on the L&B and related narrow gauge topics at a room over a pub in Stockport, and we have arranged visits to local preserved railways. Thanks to the kindness of Paul Lewin, General Manager of the Ffestiniog Railway (and a keen L&B member), we had a guided tour of Boston Lodge works, and a chance to inspect progress on “Lyd” the L&B replica loco being built there.
We tried to arrange a weekend of volunteering in Devon as a group, but the logistics of arranging travel over such a distance and accommodation, made it too difficult.
From our local members, we can usually get 10-12 to attend an evening meeting.When we advertised evening lectures locally, we got 12-25 people (including some non-members and friends of members).
We raise funds for the L&B Trust by sales of products produced by members, such as the Photo Database CD and Index to L&B Magazines.
We have had most success providing an L&B Display Stand and Sales Table at a variety of local model railway exhibitions, to promote knowledge of the L&B line, and to generate interest from potential new members.
We have put together a professional-looking display stand, and we hold some stock of L&B-related books and gifts from the shop at Woody Bay to sell to visitors. Usually, we also provide an L&B model – part of a member’s layout, or perhaps a 16mm scale live steam loco – as a focal point.
From our current stalwart volunteers, we can provide a rota to man our stand at exhibitions, with each person only committed to a half-day, or one day’s attendance. We generally do about two or three such exhibitions per year, and could do more, or tour around different exhibitions, with only a small amount of extra volunteer effort.
Our membership covers a wide age range.Inevitably, the younger members have jobs and families, and their free time is limited.The retired members are enthusiastic supporters, but are sometimes reluctant to take on an organising role.
Our costs are minimal, using Email for correspondence wherever possible, so we do not charge our members to participate in the NW Area Group, nor do we make any financial demands on the L&B Trust or Railway Company.Our activities are supported by occasional donations (in cash or in kind) from individual members.
Anyone (current L&B member or not) in the North West is most welcome to make contact, and find out about events.Even better, we would like to hear from anyone who would be willing to help organise future events.
Get in touch. - you will be most welcome!