East Kent Railway awarded £50,000 in People’s Millions
East Kent Railway has been awarded £50,000 from the 2014 ITV People’s Millions initiative, despite not winning the initial vote.
EKR is a Heritage Mining Railway, with its main base at Shepherds Well, near Dover, won the grant from the Big Lottery and ITV’s “The People’s Millions”. The railway has been awarded two grants by the Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, the most recent of which was in summer 2014.
One of the railway’s current projects is the restoration of steam locomotive “St Dunstan”, which spent most of its working life at nearby Snowdown Colliery. This project, as with many other engineering undertakings at the railway, is being undertaken with participants from the railway’s very successful Rail Apprentice Scheme, that has offered over a hundred local young people rare opportunities to gain invaluable engineering and rail environmental experience, leading in some cases to full employment in the wider rail industry.
The People’s Millions was covered prominently on Meridian Television, who spent several hours recently filming volunteers and interviewing railway officials at Shepherds Well.
Volunteers have worked hard over the last twenty years to restore EKR as a tourist attraction, with trains running from Shepherds Well to Eythorne, and a host of other attractions including woodland walks, model and miniature railways and attractive tea rooms at both termini. Gary Cox runs the Funding & Apprentice Scheme, and commented: “It’s fantastic news that our project has been selected as best runner up in The People’s Millions. We are grateful for support from Dover District Council in developing our bid, which if successful will also help to secure and expand the very successful Apprenticeship Scheme we have been running for the last two years. This scheme has not only changed the lives of those young people but also injected nearly two million pounds into the local community.”