Reception at Federation House was a hive of activity as beneficiaries of the BJGF Benevolent Society gathered in readiness to board the coaches for their annual outing. Bridgenorth railway station was the destination, where the beneficiaries were treated to refreshments and a chance to soak up the atmosphere, take photos and for some, an opportunity to climb aboard the footplate of the engine – a chance in a life-time.
As the train was boarded, the party was joined by GA (Giftware Association) member Mr Ian Latimer, who is a volunteer on the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) and currently station master at Arley.
He was dressed in an original Victorian station master’s uniform and throughout the journey gave beneficiaries an interesting talk about the history of the SVR including the recent visit by Prince Charles to Arley Station.
Some beneficiaries who had made their way to the comfort of the 1st class carriages were keen to recount fascinating stories about their past and how they often travelled by steam train as children and during the war.
On arrival at Bewdley station everyone made their way through picturesque surroundings of locomotives, colourful floral displays, antique chocolate machines and old fashioned suitcases strategically stacked adding to the ambiance of the past – even a cluster of milk churns brought back memories of childhood for some.
Shrawley and the Lenchford Inn was the next stop, here everyone tucked into a hearty carvery lunch, a drink or two and dessert for those who were able to manage it. After lunch the beneficiaries were guided literally down the garden path towards the riverbank and aboard the pleasure cruiser for the final leg of their journey.
During the one and a half hour cruise the beneficiaries were able to sit back and take advantage of a relaxing journey in the sunshine and it was nice to see fishermen, other boat users and even a party of schoolchildren acknowledge our waves and friendly banter.
Finally the party arrived in Worcester in time for refreshments before the journey home, it was especially nice to hear beneficiaries singing along to some songs from yesteryear a favourite being ‘show me the way to go home’ a perfect end to a perfect day. Testament to the great day everyone had enjoyed was the comments of members of the party:
“My daughter, Diane and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of a well planned, well executed, and extremely pleasant day out!” (Henry Eyles and Diane).
“Thank you all so much for the lovely day out we all really enjoyed it.” (Betty Daniels & Janet Steward).
“Just a note to say thank you for the lovely day out we had, I really enjoyed it.” (Philip Wakefield).
The BJGF Benevolent Society financially assists those less fortunate, who worked in the industries represented by the BJGF Federation namely, manufacture and distribution of jewellery, giftware, leather goods and allied trades, and the processing or finishing of metal.
For help and information regarding the BJGF Benevolent Society please contact Lynn Snead, Federation House, 10 Vyse Street, Birmingham, B18 6LT Tel No 0121 236 2657, E- mail ; www.bjgf.org.uk/Benevolent.