Thursday 10 April 2014

A Volunteer's Story - Mike Speake

 Its been a little while since we've  had one of the Broadway Area Group Volunteer's stories.  Mike Speake is a long serving member of the gang and  is a member of the band 'The Rambling Boys', who have been so generous in raising funds for our efforts at Broadway. Here is Mike's story:-

 I spent the first  eleven years of my life in South London, so my earliest memories of railway travel were green Southern EMUs up to Charing Cross and the wonderfully noisy loco-hauled brown rolling stock on the Metropolitan going to visit my grandparents. In 1958 we moved to Nottingham so I suppose I experienced steam-haulage then – I do remember “The Master Cutler” from (I believe) Nottingham Victoria to Marylebone. (Or was it Midland to St. Pancras?)

 The awful admission to make is that I was not a train spotter and it was only due to the enthusiasm of a school-mate (Mel), that I started to take any interest in trains – and this largely through model railways. I started with 00 when at school, later built a couple of model trams, then over the years, dabbled in N-gauge, then O, when Lima started producing cheap models, sold that and went for 00-9, sold that and finally ended up with 00!

After gaining a degree in engineering, I changed direction and trained to teach, spending the next 32 years teaching physics in an independent grammar school. 

The interest in railways bubbled along and around fifteen years ago, on a camping trip to Blue Anchor, I decided that it would be good to play with big trains and joined the West Somerset Railway as a TTI.

 My proudest moment doing that was the occasion when I worked a through train from Minehead to Bristol Temple Meads. (This experiment was tried for one season, Mondays and Saturdays, I seem to remember, but then the TOC pulled out of the deal, so it never happened again.)  Here I am at the head of the  train at BTM.


My biggest leisure activity has always been music in various forms. While at school, I got together with a couple of guys and formed a “folk group” - (this was the sixties!) and took up playing the double bass. After leaving school, I rejoined one of the guys (Mel) and two others and we became “The Rambling Boys” 

- a name which has stuck with us for over forty years – and we still perform three or four times a year. In fact some of you reading this may have seen us perform in Broadway earlier this year, when we made over £1500 for the station project.
Having moved to the area with my wife Sue in September 2011, I felt the logical thing to do, living just round the corner, was to join the Broadway Area Group and since then have spent many happy hours, with a great bunch of mates, doing all sorts of jobs, all furthering the aims of the group to see steam return to Broadway.

What will I do when the Station is finished? Haven't decided yet!


GWSR Steam Loco Dept said...

I thought I recognised the name, you taught me physics at BGS many years ago. I can't imagine what it must have been like to spend 32 years teaching unruly school boys (and latterly girls), you must deserve some kind of medal. It's good to see that you've survived the experience anyway.

Best wishes

Ray O'Hara

Unknown said...

You could become station master.


Anonymous said...

or start on Honeybourne.... ;)

HowardGWR said...

Never mind Honeybourne, what about Bretforton and Weston-sub-Edge? :-)


Jo said...

Surely Weston Sub Edge would be tricky, as the site of the station buildings and yard is occupied by CRH?
Also,the nearest village is a good mile away. The 'Bretforton' bit was quietly dropped as that village was 2 miles away - it's a long walk...