GWR train name fame for mini marvel runner and PPE sewing bee
BBC and Great Western Railway celebrate Make a Difference Superstars
A seven-year-old schoolboy is one of two community heroes from Berkshire and Buckinghamshire who will have their names featured on the side of a Great Western Railway train.
Mini-marvel Henry Cleary and PPE sewing bee Tracy Devlin have been chosen as BBC Make a Difference Superstars for selflessly helping others at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pair were selected by judges following a link-up between the BBC and train operator GWR to celebrate those community heroes who have been going above and beyond over the past six months.
Now plans are being made for their names to be added to either end of a high-speed Intercity Express Train.
Determined: Henry Cleary
Henry became so concerned about the plight of the homeless during lockdown that he decided to do something about it. The youngster from Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, set himself the mammoth challenge of running a marathon in just 10 days.
His target was to raise £262 – £10 per mile for homeless charity Crisis – but to date the Star Wars-loving schoolboy has raised almost £11,000 with the total continuing to rise. He even managed to complete his marathon in just nine days, with a sprint finish at the end!
Judges chose Henry as their winner not only for his sheer determination and fundraising feat, but the fact that he raised spirits in his local community. He was cheered on every day by neighbours and key worker children from his school, who took to the streets to clap Henry as he ran past.
Sewing bee: Tracy Devlin
At the start of lockdown childminder Tracy began voluntary work with the PPE team at Garth Hill College making scrubs to donate to local hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, care homes, schools and vet practices.
She then formed the Facebook group Rainbow Scrubs, a team of volunteers from across Berkshire collecting donations and making anything from scrubs to masks and headbands.
They also knitted ‘Frontline Hero’ bears to raise funds for other items to be given to key workers and Tracy has become a coordinator for the collection and delivery of numerous donations of fabric, ribbons and buttons.
To date Tracy and her crew have made and donated 980 scrubs, 4,500 masks, 2,300 scrubs washbags, 1,250 headbands, 853 ear savers, 141 hats, 55 bandanas, 115 crocheted hearts and 202 ‘Frontline Hero’ bears.
Rainbow Scrubs also raised more than £2,100 for local causes and were donated four second-hand iPads which they presented to the Oakwood unit at Prospect Park Hospital in Reading.
GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton said:
“The GWR has a long and proud history of naming trains after Great Westerners – past and present heroes from across our network – and to that list now we can add the names of Henry Cleary and Tracy Devlin.
“It has been a privilege to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign and learn more about people like Henry and Tracy who have helped to make such a huge difference in their communities during the pandemic.
“Listening to BBC local radio we were particularly overwhelmed by the stories of these two winners and I hope our train-naming ceremonies will serve as a fitting tribute to them.”
BBC Berkshire was one of nine local radio stations to team up with GWR and the names of 18 Make a Difference Superstars will adorn its high-speed trains.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:
“I have been blown away by the efforts of all the Covid-19 heroes during the course of the pandemic. Their dedication and compassion has been truly heart-warming, and made a huge difference in their communities.
“These trains will be a lasting reminder of all those who have gone the extra mile to keep this country going.”
Stephanie Marshall, head of the BBC in the West and South West, said:
“The pandemic may have been the worst of times for many of us, but it has brought out the best in so many people.
“Since lockdown began nearly two million listeners have contacted their BBC local radio station either looking for help, or in many cases offering it out through the Make a Difference campaign.
“The stories of local heroism have helped put a smile on faces across the country and I’m incredibly proud that our local radio teams played a part in that.”
With more people starting to use trains again operators are reminding passengers to:
- plan ahead – travel at quieter times where they can, buy a ticket online and in advance, and book ahead if you need travel assistance
- consider others – wear a face covering unless you’re exempt, not travelling if you have Covid symptoms and consider others, not all disabilities can be seen
- stay safe – maintaining your distance wherever possible; wash your hands and carry hand sanitiser, paying contactless where you can.
GWR has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure that these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible such as restricting the number of reservations available.
Notes to editors
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.
Media Relations Manager
Great Western Railway
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