Sunday 19 January 2014

A Volunteer's Story - Robert 'Vic' Smith

Vic Smith is a long serving stalwart of the Broadway Area Group  of Volunteers. If there is a help required Vic is always at the head of the queue to do what he can. Here is his story:-

Vic Smith (alias l’ed Gar dineur) -   <- -click="" p="" pdf="" see="" to="" version="">

My interest in railways stems back when I was 8 years of age and my dad came home with a clockwork engine some wagons and plenty of track to run around our back garden. We lived in Slough then a cosmopolitan town with folk coming from Wales and Northern towns such as Durham. The main line from Paddington to the West ran alongside Salt Hill Park where expresses, local and goods trains frequently passed in the 1950’s. I was a train spotter with Ian Allen books regularly visiting London stations and depots copping loco’s from all over.
Finishing my education at 15, I became a Fitter & Turner apprentice for BR Western Region at their main workshop behind Slough Station. This was a 5yr stint working on all aspects of their automotive fleet. One of the advantages of working for the railway was free and privilege tickets for travelling, so visits were made to Ostend, Paris & Waterford. There was a spectacular visit to Swindon workshops where steam was still being worked on before the demise to diesel. Oh what a site all those GWR engines.
The ending of goods delivery by the railways made all their road transport obsolete and the workshops closed. I then found work with a road repair company working in their garage, and then moved on to a Turner & Newell company involved with the manufacture of automotive gaskets. All this was on Slough Trading Estate the main employment facility in the area. There was a model railway club nearby which I joined and helped build several layouts which were exhibited.
In my leisure time, I was involved with The Boys Brigade, joining as a Life Boy and ending up as Captain of 2nd Slough Company. I was also involved with the youth club where one of the many activities was camping. This has led to a 35yr membership of The Camping & Caravanning Club.
 On meeting Jean and getting married we set up home in High Wycombe and a loft also led to a layout which lasted over 20 yrs to build and was finished just before we sold the house.
So back to the railway scene, whenever Jean & I go camping there is always a visit to the local railway, a great many have been visited over the years. Back in the 70’s an appeal was made to rescue part of The Great Central Railway and I became a shareholder.  I retired at 50 from my T&N Co and joined the Ambulance Service and was with them for 20yrs. With our two boys moving on from the family home Jean & I agreed to downsize looking for a move to a Park Home and after a big search we ended at Long Carrant Park.
In the mean time I became interested in Glos-Warks Railway which was close by to where we were going to move and travelled once a month over to Broadway from High Wycombe. We moved to Ashton-under-Hill in June 2013 and was able to work first brick cleaning and subsequently on landscaping twice a week. (Sounds better than gardening).

Thanks Vic

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another unsung hero of the Broadway volunteer team.