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Thames Valley Group at MHR Gala - UPDATED

Members of the L&BR Thames Valley Group were recently invited to take our stand to the Summer Steam Gala of the Mid Hants Railway (better known as "The Watercress Line"). The event was timed to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of steam on Southern Region on 9 July 1967. The Gala took place on five days spread over two weekends and attracted thousands of visitors from all over the UK plus many from overseas.

This photo gives a glimpse of just some of the thousands of visitors who made their way to the MHR Gala on just one of the five days.

We were given full use of the viewing gallery in the carriage shed. This meant we had plenty of space to display many and various panels of information about the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. During the five days we held hundreds of conversations with visitors and handed out countless leaflets.

These three photos show members of the TVG team 'in action' during a relatively quiet spell. During the busy periods, the viewing gallery was so crowded it was impossible to find the time or space to take more photos!

It was good to discover just how many people did know something of the L&B, indeed many had either already enjoyed a visit to Woody Bay in recent weeks or were looking forward to a visit later in the year.

In some respects it was even better to talk with those folk who knew little or nothing of our railway. It was great to see their eyes light up as they were told of what has already come to pass in North Devon and of the ambitious but achievable plans for the extension. They eagerly accepted the proffered leaflets so they could then read more about the delights of Exmoor, Lynton & Lynmouth and the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway and then plan for a short break or holiday in North Devon.

Thanks are due to Philip Airey, Roger Beazer, John Jones, Chris King-Smith and Alan Pearce for their invaluable help at various times during that enjoyable five days!

Mike Pearce

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