I am probably the longest serving volunteer on the NYMR at this moment without any break in service. My first visit was 10th August 1968 to see the arrival of the railbus. Others that were there were John Hardy, Peter Robinson (now chairman of Grosmont Station Group) Fred Stuart and Brian Turner. I was a member of the first working party at Grosmont on the 10th November 1968. Volunteers on this day were Peter Robinson, John Hardy, Peter Tuck, Fred Stuart and Joe Brown (in charge) and me. This was the day that BR handed over the reins to the NYMR and allowed working parties to begin. I do not remember much about what we did although repairs to the crossing gates were started.

For the first years Joe Brown oversaw work and we carried out all sorts of jobs. Examples being relaying track, painting wagons, carriages and buildings. As I was also heavily involved with NELPG, (now Vice President) it was inevitable that I would migrate to working on steam locomotives as they arrived. I carried out fitting work as well as learning to be a Fireman. I was in the first batch of Firemen to be passed out in 1971 together with Chris Cubbitt who was passed as a driver. He was employed at that time at Thornaby depot. I then gained experience with a variety of steam locos at our "open weekends" before the NYMR officially opened.

I was picked to be Fireman on NELPGs P3/J27 on the opening special carrying guests and of course the Duchess of Kent. We were introduced to her at Pickering. A day of sunshine and crowds. Always to remember! Originally the train was to start from Whitby, however a strike by railwaymen on that day prevented that, which was a huge disappointment. During 1974 I was passed out to operate diesel shunters and the DMU and then Class 24 at some point.

1975 saw me being involved with the S&D 150 celebrations which included movements of NELPG locos to Shildon and back. Another milestone!

During 1976 I passed out as a steam driver, which I have just retired from. Moving forward I will be looking at alternative ways of being involved.

There is a passion and respect for steam locomotives. Trainspotting was a hobby that most were involved in at some time in the 1950s and 1960s, my uncle was a keen photographer and very knowledgeable. That introduced me to the world of photography and a passion for steam, and in the 1960s I managed to persuade a locomotive crew to let me ride on the footplate. I did the same on NCB locos in Durham and Northumberland and gained, if you like, my apprenticeship. As this was happening and the railways were focussing on diesel traction and combined with Beeching cuts, preserved railways and locomotive preservation came to the fore! Due to Beeching this made it possible for me to get involved and I jumped in feet first!

Volunteering is an interesting and enjoyable journey. I worked in the domestic gas industry most of my life and there was considerable likeness in both industries, which gave me the confidence. In the first instance in technical matters, and as I progressed, I gained further skills in the gas industry. Later, I then moved into the Training and Development and Personnel departments. The skills and knowledge I learned were transferable and were exceptionally useful as a volunteer, especially when I progressed to be a Locomotive Footplate Inspector/Assessor. During my working and volunteer life I have enjoyed watching other people’s knowledge and skills expand and know I have been part of that. I also enjoy engaging with the public and I especially like to see the smiles and goodwill which is shown at the end of a great day out.

There are many, many highlights in this journey, including how many celebrities have both been seen either when filming or family visits. Carol Vorderman, Rod Hull and Emu and Chris Barrie of Red Dwarf fame are well remembered. Two royals that I met were the Duchess of Kent and a couple of years ago I attended lunch on a special train from Pickering to Levisham and return with the Duke of Gloucester.

Image: Terry Newman Left.