West Somerset Railway's trackers steam to success

Somerset County Gazette: JANET Howard and Samantha Minter, Trackers co-ordinators, Josh O'Connor, Harry Howe and Mr and Mrs Willis. PHOTO: Submitted. JANET Howard and Samantha Minter, Trackers co-ordinators, Josh O'Connor, Harry Howe and Mr and Mrs Willis. PHOTO: Submitted.

TWO young “Trackers” have won awards to celebrate their major contribution to the work of the West Somerset Railway.

West Somerset Railway’s youth section is known as the “Trackers” and is open to young people aged 13-18.

It allows them to work in various areas of the railway’s activities being trained and supervised by the staff and volunteers in different departments.

Harry Howe and Josh O’ Connor both received awards for their dedication and hard work.

The Railway initiated two annual awards for members of the “Trackers” who are judged by their heads of departments.

The first award, named the “James Willis Award” is in memory of the late James Willis who was a highly valued member of the “Trackers” until his untimely passing won by Harry Howe who is a member of the station staff at Bishops Lydeard Station.

The second award is the “Trackers Cup”, won by Josh O’Connor who has worked in the Catering Department on the buffet cars of the trains and in the Turntable Cafe at Minehead Station.

Humphrey Davies, chairman of WSR and John Irven, chairman- elect, presented the awards in November 3, the last day of the Railway’s main operating season.

James Willis’ parents attended the inaugural presentation and Mr Davies paid tribute to James.

He said: “We are here today to not only celebrate the long service awards but to commemorate a popular and valued young volunteer whose contribution to the ongoing story of the West Somerset Railway was sadly cut short in 2009 and whose memory we are marking today with the awarding of the new James Willis Award to the Tracker of the Year.”

Mr Davies added his thanks to Harry and Josh and congratulated them on their hard work and enthusiasm.

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