Train-mad boy waves off first steam ride at Bluebell Railway after donating his pocket money to save the attraction
A train-mad youngster who gave all his pocket money to save the steam railway has waved the green flag to see off the first train as the line reopened.
Six-year-old Alex Venton blew the whistle as the popular Bluebell Railway in Sussex began running trains again on Friday (August 7) after a 20-week closure.
Alex and his family were special guests of the railway as a token of thanks for his contribution to the plea for financial help during the shutdown.
He has been keen on trains since the age of two and is a member of the Bluebell Railway’s club for juniors. The not-for-profit railway launched an emergency appeal in March to provide enough money to recover from the closure.
Alex’s mum Sophie Venton said: “He read about the appeal in the railway’s newsletter and said, ‘Can I give the money from my money box?’.
“I said, ‘Are you sure you want to?’ because he had been saving up for a new coach for his train set but he insisted he wanted to help.”
He then offered all his saved pocket money which came to £6.10 and Sophie topped it up to £20 as a donation to the railway.
The family were given a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of the workshops and interactive exhibition area before taking a ride.
Trevor Swainson, Bluebell’s funding organiser, said: “We were touched that Alex had emptied his money box because he loves trains so much and particularly his concern that the railway might struggle after lockdown.”