Rail volunteer pulls in top award

The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway is celebrating after a trustee was named the top young volunteer in the UK heritage railway movement.

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway volunteer Oliver Edwards
Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway volunteer Oliver Edwards

Oliver Edwards, 21, took the Lord Faulkner Young Volunteer of the Year accolade at the annual Heritage Railway Association Awards, triumphing from a three-strong shortlist that also included young members of the Severn Valley Railway and Somerset & Dorset Railway Heritage Trust.

Olly joined the railway in 2019 and his achievements in the short time since include leading a major piece of market research, helping to raise more than £140,000 as part of the W&LLR’s 2020 appeal made necessary by the Covid pandemic and increasing the railway’s social media presence by more than 25 per cent.

He also found time to write a book about the line to raise further funds, and was elected to the railway’s board of trustees where he now takes the volunteer role of marketing and product manager.

“I’m blown away to have won the award,” Olly said.

“Thank you so much to my brilliant colleagues for everything they have done to support me in the two years I’ve been at the railway - bring on much more to come.

“I believe wholeheartedly in the ability of our movement to change lives if we work hard enough to get there. Heartfelt congratulations to the other two nominees too for being shortlisted.”

The W&LLR’s members’ newsletter The Earl was also highly commended in the HRA Awards.

“Olly has made a significant contribution to the Welshpool & Llanfair over the last couple of years,” said chairman Steve Clews.

“We were delighted when he was elected to the board of trustees and appointed product and marketing manager.”

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