In my message of 12/05/20 I mentioned that Pete Waller, the Membership Secretary, would be sending out renewal letters for members whose membership expired between March and May. The response was excellent and at the end of June a total of £3672 had been banked with £751 of this being donations. In early July the renewals for June to August were posted and so far £1653 has been banked with £269 being donations. There are more renewals currently being processed. The response to membership renewals has been tremendous. The Directors would like to thank all who have renewed and especially those members who have been so generous with their donations. The current thinking is to put these and future donations into a ring fenced fund. This will finance an as yet to be specified project on Peak Rail. In future membership renewals and reminders will be posted out every two or three months rather than waiting for inclusion with Peak Express mailing.
Friday 14th August saw the first PRA Board meeting since the end of February. It was decided to use Darley Dale Station Museum as this would allow sufficient space for Social Distancing. Gordon Caro, who has done so much to develop Buxton Branch and restart activity on Buxton site, was unanimously co-opted onto the Board. Pete Waller indicated that an edition of Peak Express would be published in the Autumn. Articles being developed, hopefully for inclusion, include one on the line to Stancliffe Quarry and another on the construction of the second Millers Dale viaduct. The content of the magazine will be quite changed as PRA Branch activities like those of the Railway have been suspended since the start of Lockdown. A key function of the magazine, to bring current news about the PRA and the Railway, is therefore difficult to achieve. Approval was given by the Board to fund the development of a PRA website. If any member reading this has the experience to build a website then please get in touch. A draft of what the content of a website might look like was distributed by me for the other Directors to comment on. It is now ready for the next stage. The PRA Directors were informed that the Plc Board would be launching an Appeal in a few weeks. As I’ve mentioned previously the PRA Board is of the opinion that members should support this crucial appeal for funds. All members will receive a copy of the Appeal letter. Sadly four volunteers have died since March and the Directors started to discuss the most appropriate way of remembering them on the railway. No decision was taken and further discussion will take place whilst also acknowledging the wishes of their family.
Over the past few days the PRA Directors have agreed to fund the purchase of 40 new softwood sleepers for the P-Way Dept.
Since late May volunteers have been involved in essential preparations required in advance of any reopening of Peak Rail. This has involved a team from the Commercial Dept at Rowsley cleaning the station environment, attending to Flower Beds and giving a face lift to Aunty Wainwright shop. Others have worked on making the Portacabins waterproof and secure as these are now being used as a storage facility. At Darley Dale station similar work has been undertaken by a team led by David Lathrope. At Darley Dale the PRA has agreed to fund repairs to the station fencing. Also there is the ongoing work of the P-Way Dept team.