HRH Duke of Gloucester with Brian Pearce - Railworld & Wildlife Haven

This morning was definitely a new adventure out of the normal working day for me. A trip down to Orton Mere NVR station to see the 92 Squadron locomotive with Royal lamps and carriages….but not only that!

At Orton Mere chatted with some of the volunteer staff looking after the railway and trains; Martin and Roger on the platform looking very smart in their uniforms awaiting our destinquished guest’s arrival along with some press. Of course I couldn’t resist a visit to the footplate of 92 Squadraon and had a chat with driver Paul, Jamie and Jack. It’s small but it’s lovely and toasty in there on these bitter days and great to see the bakewell tart and apple pies keeping warm for breaktime after their bacon bap breakfast that they will be making on a shovel near the engine fire after this journey!

It’s drizzling and who have arrived but Nene Valley Primary school children led by Miss Khanom. All queued up in a twos as they walk round to the station. Paul gives them a toot from the engine which they all loved. This particular year have been doing a study project on trains and are so exicted to be getting on a ‘real’ train (one of them said) and on top of that with their Union Jack flags for the Royal visitor.

A few minutes later and HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester (cousin to Queen Elizabeth II) arrived. He is the patron to Nene Valley Railway as well as Severn Valley Railway and has had a deep interest in trains over the years. He boarded the carriage and we were off towards Peterborough (Nene Valley) Station. I joined onboard as he walked through the carriages with the school children enjoying their ride. On arrival at Peterborough HRH was introduced to some of Peterborough’s dignitries e.g. the Mayor and then Brian Pearce introduced him to the teams from Railworld and Wildlife Haven.

Busily taking photographs, I ended up at the end of the queue of introducees and found myself introduced by Brian to HRH.!!! OOOps. A messed up curtsy was all I could manage and a chat about Railworld and Wildlife Haven being one of the top things to do and see in Peterborough second to Peterborough Cathedral of course. He was even told about We Love Peterborough (cheers Brian) LOL.

I left them on their tour around the Railworld train areas and of course a pop over to Wildlife Haven where he will be able to see all the recycled train accessories which are built into the grounds and gardens. This includes three sections of Victorian Great Northern Railway aqueduct built in the1840s at Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire. These were installed in the wildlife haven to create an intriguing exciting place for our children to explore and learn about the wonders of nature.

There’s definitely pride in the 92 Squadron locomotive as it was was done up from scrap and took over £250,000. We never know about the behind the scenes work going on so it’s a big shout out to the rail team who were busy yesterday taking all day getting the locomotive ready at Nene Valley Railway for the Royal visit. The were checking her all night to ensure she was getting up enough steam and then this morning up at around 4am to couple up the train to the carriages and getting ready for the run up to Peterborough. By the time they are all finished it would have been a 14 hours day. So well done to Paul (Engine Driver) and the team. A well earned rest by the end of tonight.

So a great day for Railworld & Wildlife Haven. If you’ve not been there already it’s a little paradise waiting for you.. over the Town Bridge and turn right. You’ll find a host of railway items and working trains running around gardened areas as well as a huge model railway over at the Haven. Around the gardens you can see lots of old railway girders, bridges etc that really do give a great feel to this ‘haven’ in the middle of the city. When the flowers bloom it really is a sight to see. It’s all run by volunteers, they have created it and they maintain it and they do a grand, GRAND job of keeping this idyllic spot as it is. Did you know that since it’s beginning in 1995 it now has over 200 species of flaura and fauna?

HRH Duke of Gloucester with Brian Pearce - Railworld & Wildlife Haven

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