Model Railway enthusiasts from as far away as Essex have helped to raise £2,500 to support children with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities as well as orphans found sleeping rough on railway stations throughout Africa, India and Great Britain.

Organisers of this year’s Model Railway Exhibition staged by the Rotary Club of Newton Aycliffe have voted the event ‘another huge success’.

During the day, 600 visitors to the Youth Centre venue in the town enjoyed 21 working layouts, 10 trade stands and 4 preservation society exhibits.

Profits from the exhibition will be shared between ‘Heel and Toe’, a local charity looking after children with cerebral palsy and physical disabilities in County Durham and Darlington, “The Railway Children” and Rotary’s own local charities.

“We were delighted with the support we received once again this year,” said Rtn John Burrows who headed the organising team.

Whilst the ‘Thomas and Friends’ layout was the undoubted highlight for the younger visitors, the “Dunstan Harbour” layout by Norman Cook proved favourite in the ‘The People’s Choice’ competition.

Winner of the ‘John Henry Jones Memorial Trophy’ was ‘The Great White River Steam Navigation and Extraction Company’ from Norman and Meg Raven and was presented by Charlotte Iceton, granddaughter of John Henry Jones who helped found the exhibition 10 years ago. The same layout also won the new Edwina Burrows trophy donated by Tigertaz Models of Stockton in memory of an Honorary Member of the Rotary Club who died recently and who had supported the event from its inception, this was presented by Edwina’s grandchildren, Charlie and Cara Burrows

Rtn. Jon Bean, President of the Rotary Club of Newton Aycliffe, said later: “This exhibition is now well-established on the model railway circuit and is an excellent method of bringing visitors to the town whilst benefitting important charities”

Quote from a visitor:

Chris and I were asked if we would demo in support of the Newton Aycliffe Model Railway Show. Unlike most shows this one is organised by The Newton Aycliffe Rotary Club specifically to raise funds for Children’s charities.

It was a very busy mixed gauge show with layouts from ‘N’ right through to Gauge 1 and it was really well attended.

On the day they managed to raise more than £2,000 for the two chosen charities which was in itself is excellent, but what made it even better for us was the people who attended.

At all other shows that we have displayed at there is always at least one who is rude or unpleasant in some other way and there are usually unruly children whose parents either won’t or can’t stop them touching anything in sight irrespective of don’t touch or other signs asking them not to.

I even heard one person saying to an exhibitor at one show that if he “didn’t want them touched they shouldn’t bring them….”

Not so at this show, all the children were well behaved and the parents and other visitors were really nice to chat to and polite to the point of embarrassment. I was waiting to get a coffee and a chap that had been waiting some time to be served, insisted that as an exhibitor I was served first, despite being behind him in the queue.

We have been asked if we will go back next year and we will be delighted to give up a day in such a good cause.