All aboard at Honeybourne as Rose realises rail ambition - The Evesham Observer

All aboard at Honeybourne as Rose realises rail ambition

Evesham Editorial 4th Aug, 2023 Updated: 4th Aug, 2023   0

CHILDHOOD memories of helping to clean the Royal Train at Honeybourne were on track for a wheelchair-bound ‘train fanatic’ great grandmother.

Rose Gardner, 78, ticked an item off her bucket list by dispatching a Great Western Railway train from Honeybourne station on Wednesday (August 2), the station where, as a child, she helped ensure the iconic train looked its best.

GWR bosses went full steam ahead to help Rose, who has five children, 20 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, realise an ambition by dispatching the 12.34pm service to Worcester Shrub Hill.

“I’m an absolute train fanatic and this is something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

“I like the Flying Scotsman and I’m also a big fan of the GWR trains which go up to Worcester Shrub Hill – they go great guns!

Blowing the whistle to send off the train was just the start of a packed year for Rose who has created a bucket list as she is in her words ‘getting older’.

Earlier this year she had her garden in Upton Snodsbury replanted, in October she is going to see Daniel O’Donnell in concert at Scarborough and she is planning to spend a couple of days by the seaside with her husband John.

Trains have played a big part in her family’s life and Rose fondly recalled, as a child, helping to clean the Royal Train when it stopped at Honeybourne on its way to Cheltenham Racecourse.

“There was always lots of excitement whenever the Royal Train came in with the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on board,” she said.

“We were allowed to clean the top half of the train and it really was something to look forward to.”

Having grown up around trains – her father worked in the nearby shunting yard and one of her brothers was a stoker – Rose even now enjoys playing train simulator video games.

“I enjoy playing on the laptop and taking the train through to a certain station. But nothing beats travelling on an actual train,” she said.

“I like sitting by the window and watching the countryside roll by.”

GWR station manager for the North Cotswolds, Billy White, said: “Rose’s story proves trains have equal appeal for enthusiasts young and old.

“It was an absolute pleasure to make one of her dreams come true and she was a natural helping to dispatch the train.”

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