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Royal recognition for Dales railway volunteers

[Friday 14 April 2006]

VOLUNTEERS and supporters of a Yorkshire Dales railway have received Royal recognition of their efforts.

Wensleydale Railway Association (WRA) will be presented with the Duke of York's Community Initiative Award at a special ceremony on Easter Sunday (16th April).

The main purpose of the Duke of York's Community Initiative is to recognise work being done in communities of all kinds in Yorkshire and, in so doing, to encourage others to become involved in the support and regeneration of their communities.

To win an award, schemes have to be led by the community they serve, have had significant impact on the people in the neighbourhood and show how they have improved quality of life. The Initiative is run by the trustees of the York-based St. William's Foundation, a charity supported by the Lord Lieutenants of West, North, East and South Yorkshire.

In the sixteen years since the WRA was established the railway has re-opened five stations and has operated trains over a 17 mile route since July 2003. The WRA also provides 300 working volunteers, who work alongside a small team of seven paid railway staff. Volunteers deal with infrastructure work, often working in tandem with specialist contractors.

WRA Secretary Ruth Annison commented on the award: "Members are the lifeblood of the Association, through which they volunteer the practical help and support that has led to this Award.

"Past and present members can take satisfaction from this external recognition of their contributions and we are all grateful for the skilled leadership shown by Keith and his predecessors as chairmen.

"We welcome new members to the WRA and there are also many opportunities for volunteering."

The award, which is given for three years, will be announced to members of the 3,500 strong Association and rail passengers by WRA chairman Keith Cameron at Leeming Bar station at 2pm.

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