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CMAC sponsors Community Rail Week event

Posted Jul 13, 2023

CRN Matlock Event Group Photo May 2023 1

CMAC had the privilege of sponsoring an event during Community Rail Week (22nd-28th May 2023), which celebrated the invaluable efforts of local community rail partnerships in enhancing the newly opened Derwent Valley Line.

The event was co-hosted by CMAC’s corporate charity partner, Community Rail Network, and a local CRN partnership, Derwent Valley Line Community Rail Partnership, which is administered by Derbyshire County Council.

Community Rail Network serves as the umbrella organisation for a unique and growing grassroots movement, comprising 75 community partnerships and 1,200 volunteer groups across the UK.

In January 2023, CMAC proudly selected CRN as our corporate charity partner due to their shared commitment to promoting safe, accessible, and sustainable rail travel. This partnership involves a substantial financial donation along with collaboration on Community Rail Network awareness and fundraising events.

The event aimed to provide an enjoyable and informative "thank you" to members of local CRN partnerships, with a special focus on Beeston, whose remarkable efforts and dedication had recently been acknowledged with a National Community Rail Award.

Nancy Roberts Gordon, Community Ambassador for East Midlands Railway (EMR), who works closely with CRN, organised a scenic train journey through the picturesque Derwent Valley from Beeston station, which is in Nottingham, to the historic spa town of Matlock bath.

At Matlock bath, guests had the opportunity to enjoy the glorious weather while exploring the nature trail around the station before enjoying a delicious lunch in the Grade II listed Whistlestop Discovery Centre.

The event included informal presentations by Paul Webster, Community Rail Support Manager, Alastair Morley, Community Rail Officer at Derbyshire County Council and Neil Micklethwaite, CMAC’s Chief Operating Officer.

Paul Webster offered an insight into CRN’s recent work, the challenges the organisation continues to face and highlighted some of the successes achieved by CRN partnerships in the East Midlands.

Alastair Morley provided an overview of the work the Derwent Valley Line CRN partnership has invested over the past twenty years in promoting rail as a sustainable, accessible, and healthy means of travel for pleasure as well as for the daily commute.

He also talked about the community-wide effort which, despite encountering numerous setbacks over the years, resulted in the Derwent Valley Line being fully open once again.

Alastair’s presentation included several photographs taken at CRN events over the years which featured guests, including Neil Micklethwaite, looking a decade younger!

Neil Micklethwaite rounded-off the formal part of the event by talking about his personal belief, which was shared with colleagues at CMAC, in the fundamental importance of railways, particularly at a local level, and giving local people and communities a voice in future rail and transport development.

Most guests took the opportunity offered to then to provide anonymous, and honest, comments. The feedback was unanimously positive and included comments such as:

“It’s so good to see other stations and learn about the different challenges their land creates and how they deal with it.
It was also really fascinating to travel with knowledgeable people and learn so much about the route and its history. And the lunch was great, too!”

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