North Norfolk Railway seeks volunteers for clean as well as dirty jobs

North Norfolk Railway volunteer platform supervisor Arthur McKears stops off at Sheringham station's

North Norfolk Railway volunteer platform supervisor Arthur McKears stops off at Sheringham station's buffet for a cup of tea served up by Cheryl Robbins. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Steam trains are not just about soot, oil and grease, according to North Norfolk Railway director John Durrant, who is heading a 'Clean Hands – Dirty Hands' campaign aimed at bolstering the Poppy Line's army of volunteers.

North Norfolk Railway volunteer platform supervisor Arthur McKears stops off at Sheringham station's

North Norfolk Railway volunteer platform supervisor Arthur McKears stops off at Sheringham station's buffet for a cup of tea served up by Cheryl Robbins. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

'Nothing could be further from the truth,' Mr Durrant said. 'The railway has endless openings for people who don't want to don overalls, from waiting staff on the dining train, to shop staff or administration work.'

As a lifelong steam enthusiast with more than 40 years of volunteering under his belt, Mr Durrant says he knows at first hand how rewarding working on the Poppy Line can be.

Originally from North Walsham, Mr Durrant's passion for trains stretches back to when, as a youngster, he travelled on the footplate with his father, who began work as a railwayman on the Sheringham to Cromer line in 1938.

Since signing up as a volunteer at Sheringham in 1974, the semi-retired civil servant has done jobs ranging from fireman to driver, and continued to make regular trips to Sheringham after he moved to Colchester in 1994.

North Norfolk Railway volunteer platform supervisor Arthur McKears stops off at Sheringham station's

North Norfolk Railway volunteer platform supervisor Arthur McKears stops off at Sheringham station's buffet for a cup of tea served up by Cheryl Robbins. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant


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'It is the camaraderie, that is so nice,' Mr Durrant said. 'Volunteering on the railway is as much about friendship as the job you do.'

Retired university lecturer Richard Edwards, who has been working with Mr Durrant on the 'Clean Hands' campaign, has been a volunteer for 12 years and is currently a ticket inspector.

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He said: 'One of the reasons I wanted to volunteer is that there is such a huge variety of jobs to choose from, as well as the fact that the North Norfolk Railway is such a wonderful, supportive community.'

Mr Edwards added that voluntary work such as making telephone calls, leaflet preparation and planning events could be done from home, meaning volunteers did not necessarily need to travel to the railway stations at Holt, Weybourne and Sheringham.

Poppy Line general manager Trevor Eady hoped the Clean Hands – Dirty Hands poster and leaflet campaign would attract a wide range of people interested in boosting the railway's 300-strong volunteer base.

'Like most volunteer-dependent organisations, we are having to work hard to fight for our position in the market, particularly as, living in a tourist area, there are so many other places looking for volunteers,' he said.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer, phone 07919987557 or 01263 820800.

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