Sunday 10 November 2013

A Volunteer's Story - John Blofield

John and I joined the Broadway Area Group pretty much at the same time, working for Jim Graham. Since then John has involved himself each Saturday with a variety of jobs, many in pursuit of keeping the Broadway Community on side with our project. He keeps things in order with  a quiet  efficiency. Our information kiosk on the Station driveway is John's old potting shed and he keeps it primed with the latest brochures. John is of the old school, with a great ability to see both sides of an argument and this has often steered me out of trouble!

Here is John's Story:-

I have been aware of the Honeybourne line for most of my life, as in my childhood I used to travel from Cheltenham Malvern Road to Birmingham Snow Hill, and onward to Shrewsbury to visit grandparents. I remember travelling on some occasions on one of GWR 'flying banana' diesel railcars up to Birmingham, although for me the highlight of these trips was the Cambrian Coast Express which took us on to Shrewsbury. The last time I travelled on the line beyond Laverton was on the final steam-hauled train in September 1965 behind Clun Castle. With its impending return to steam, is it an impossible dream that one day we may renew our acquaintance at Broadway?
Having spent some years away, I returned to this area, and with the approach of retirement decided I would like to become a volunteer with the GWR. I started work at Broadway in 2009 under the leadership of Jim Graham, and remember that first day - we cleaned out the portakabin, and I helped Jim lay paving stones in front of the doorway. I now live in Wormington, and the northern end of the line at Laverton bridge is about one mile away as the crow flies. I can sometimes hear the steam locos running around their trains, which is nice, but I look forward to that happy day when they just pass by on their way to Broadway.
John (left) retrieving bricks from Coleford - Robin in his
 favourite place - behind a pile of bricks!

It has given me great satisfaction to see the transformation of the site from overgrown wilderness to something which is now starting to look like a railway station. The enthusiasm and dedication of my fellow volunteers is inspiring, and I enjoy the camaraderie. As my practical skills are basic DIY, I help out where needed with odd jobs around the site, and keep an eye on the information kiosk.

Banner Man - John fixes a variety of banners
for local functions to the Evesham Road Bridge

Off-site I maintain contact with local organisations, and also distribute timetables around the local cafes and other establishments to try to raise the profile of the railway among visitors and locals. I also attend local fetes and events on the village green in Broadway with the Friends of Broadway Station' gazebo and information stand, with assistance from some of my fellow volunteers.

Thanks John

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


You do such an important job, liaising with the local residents and business' as well as everything you do at the Station side as well, congratulations, and long may it continue.