The Mid Suffolk Light Railway, affectionately known as The Middy has received £64,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting new project to develop a workshop building, to better sustain the restoration of historic railway equipment and to deliver a programme of heritage learning and social engagement to the over 60s. The new building will be erected close to the Railway’s station and Museum at Brockford and will be in the style of an Edwardian engine shed.
This grant comes on top of a number of other grants already secured from the Alfred Williams Charitable Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, Mid Suffolk District Council, The Pargiter Trust and Suffolk County Council and means that the total required funding is now in place for construction to start on site later this month.
The project will be led by volunteer staff members from the Middy with the intent to encourage the sharing of heritage skills and knowledge between participants and experienced qualified Middy volunteers.
“We hope not only to give individuals participating an enjoyable time but use the massive skills base these people have acquired over their working lives to benefit the restoration activities at the museum”, said Jon Taylor, Mid Suffolk Light Railway Chairman. “And as you can imagine we are absolutely thrilled at receiving support from the Heritage Lottery Fund ensuring we can introduce more people to the local historic heritage that remains of this railway line that once played such a central part to life in rural Suffolk”.
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England said, “ This project will not only preserve important heritage skills, but will introduce a large number of people to the fascinating heritage of transport in their local area. We are delighted that thanks to National Lottery players we have been able to support this programme of learning, restoration and social engagement.
The Middy is unique in Suffolk, being the only standard gauge heritage railway in the county and already a multiple award winning operation including being Suffolk Museum of the Year for 2015. The railway operates a full programme of steam trains and special events from 27th March to 11th September, with 2016 being its 25th anniversary year. The MSLR is a registered charity operated entirely by volunteers.