Home News Diary Dates & Events History Location Membership
Home News Diary Dates & Events History Location Membership

Sadly, I must start with some bad news. Our acting chairman, Richard Andrews, died suddenly at home shortly before the 2016 AGM. I’m sure followers of this site will join me in offering condolences to Joan and the family at this difficult time. I felt it would be best to write a separate obituary and would like to leave you with a happy memory of Richard.

Some six months ago, his car broke down so he had to drive all the way from Sussex in his beloved Morgan. The smile on his face would have shamed a Cheshire Cat and remained in place all day.

Turning now to other matters, we have now completed the remaining jobs on the loco shed and yard. The last job was the surface. This was done using Mr Owen’s JCB and much shovelling and raking by Simon, Riv and myself. To keep the use of weedkiller down, the track area has had a plastic membrane put down which seems to be working. I realise that putting gravel down is not authentic but is a compromise as we have to comply with regulations for trip hazards in public areas. Also, it is readily moved in the future should we need to.

With this completed, we were able to have the Planning inspection passed, together with Fire and Health & Safety. With this paperwork in place, we are now able to open the site to the public. The formal opening, by invitation only, will take place in mid-November at the request of our grant-providers, WREN, who were very pleased with the project on their inspection and have been great to work with.

We are looking to have an informal members and public opening in the spring when the weather is better.

So, moving on to look at the AGM and other activities, we had our regular meeting on 16th September, which was difficult due to Richard’s death and Joan, the Secretary, not being available. Richard filled many roles in the group and we had to sort out cover for these. Keith Roberts has agreed to become acting Chairman. It was very much ‘in at the deep end’ as he had to run the AGM the next day.

Joan has agreed to stay on as Secretary, with assistance from David, Norman and Linda Hughes for cover when she can’t get to meetings. The Press and Publicity is divided between Mal Draper, who hosts the Facebook Page, Simon Newton, who has been heavily involved with our project and yours-truly, who is a declared computer-phobe, who thinks a mouse should eat cheese and an email should have a stamp on it! (And don’t I know it –JR)

The big day of 17th dawned with Eunice, Pauline, Linda and Keith hosting a sales stand and raffle in the Institute. Meanwhile, yours-truly aided and abetted by Simon and Edwin showed a constant stream of members around the shed. Or, in my case, bored them senseless with my own personal theory of why the track-gauge was 2ft 4 ½ ins!

After an enjoyable morning chatting to and sometimes scaring off members, we locked up the shed and moved up to the Institute for the AGM, where according to John Milner’s empirical work, the original GVT company held its AGMs. As we include the original company within the group, is this unusual, if not unique, in preservation.

The meeting went on somewhat longer than usual as there was much to discuss and debate. After closure, we then had to prepare for the concert. At this point and explanation is called for.

In the summer, my good friend Billy and his brother in law, Andrew, helped move the slate wagon back to the museum. At the time, Billy offered to bring his band over to do a concert for us to raise funds. I though that this was a great idea but did not get round to doing anything about it. The following week, Billy contacted me and said his friend had a band, had been to look at the Institute, and wanted to join in. At this point a couple of my few remaining grey cells fired so I suggested a concert on the evening of the AGM as we had the use of the Institute all day.

Time was short and we did not realise that we clashed with the Gardening Society’s Annual Show at the Caernarfon Centre. Not a problem – but gardening is a very popular pastime in the valley so we were in competition with titanic tomatoes, mighty marrows and prodigious potatoes. (Are these all competing bands? – JR)

The result was that by the evening, many local people had been out all day and did not come. We are very grateful to those who did. The general feedback was how good the bands were and, had we known, we would have got our friends and relatives to come – and please don’t let it clash with anything else.

Billy and his friends enjoyed it very much and are itching to do another one, so we are thinking of a dance and buffet, planned well in advance.

Another comment was: We need a drink! This is a little tricky as the Institute was established by a Temperance League, so a bar is out! But, the Glyn Valley Hotel is just down the hill and the Oak is a few doors up, so we want to support these two institutions.

The money raised has gone to pay Certification Fees for the Engine Shed.

You may be aware that we have now been loaned the contents of the Wynn Quarry Museum, which closed in 1990. This loan has been made by the executors of the late Angela James, with the condition that they remain in the village and can be displayed in the shed or the Institute. After 25 years storage in a damp building, the condition of the artefacts has deteriorated.

Having had three months storage in an insulated container, they have dried out. Following the meeting on Friday, we moved a selection and have been carefully cleaning and treating them with a thin coat of oil, which is the recommended conservation technique. I will look at these in more detail in my next report.

I would like to conclude by welcoming Pauline and Edwin to the Board, both of whom live in the village. Edwin has been a member for over 30 years and is well known in preservation circles having illustrated over 200 railway books.

Pauline is now Eunice’s local representative and is learning the finer points of selling hiking boots to angels, etc.

I would like to finish by thanking all the regular group for their hard work, dedication and great sense of humour. Please join us as we have many great things just around the corner, which will appear in my next report.

Chris Pendlebury 11th October 2016

Engine Shed, Platform and trackbed prepared ready for opening.

Photo Keith Roberts

News Update  11th October 2016 - Chris Pendlebury

Obituary – Richard Andrews

Richard and Joan joined the GVT group in 2003 after they bought a GVT wagon kit and became interested in the history of the tramway. Shortly after joining, they helped to provide the funds to secure the purchase of the coal wharf. Regularly travelling from their home in Surrey they joined the GVT Board with Joan becoming Secretary and Richard dealing with press and publicity. As a working volunteer, he worked with Peter and Mike on the battle to keep the loco shed waterproof whilst the hunt went on for funding. When the Chairman stood down for health reasons, Richard became acting Chairman and continued in this rôle to the end. He also became well known for his talks to local groups on the Tramway. Indeed, it was on one of these where he met Terry Waite, who became out president. Richard saw the group through the maze of grant and planning applications though, sadly, he did not see it open to the public.

As a person, Richard had a real dislike of conflict and aggression. Often, in meetings, he would attempt to find common ground. I only remember one occasion when he criticised me when I inadvertently called called Pont Fadog a ‘station’ on the web site, when it should have been a ‘waiting room.’ This showed his meticulous side which stemmed from his working life as a Chartered Mechanical Engineer.

When travelling to meetings, he would always bring a tool kit with himin order to fix domestic appliances at Riv’s house. This related to his other great interest at Brooklands Racing Club after taking VIPs for a trip round the remains of the circuit in his beloved Morgan. At his funeral, many of his friends from Brooklands came with their cars and paid respect forming a cortège, something he would have loved.

Richard died suddenly at home less than two weeks prior to the AGM. He had a number of physical health problems that could have contributed to his death. An hour before he died, he was talking to Joan about the AGM and looking forward to the concert afterwards. Following his death, some members felt that we should cancel the AGM as a mark of respect but Joan wanted it to go ahead as planned.

At the funeral, the Tramway was represented by Keith Eames and Martin Rowan with other long-standing members. Following the funeral, a collection was taken to be equally divided between us and Brooklands.

Richard and Joan always worked together and were a very close family. This makes his loss in some ways greater but, in other ways a little easier as the family can gain strength, support and comfort from this strength of family.

 I am sure the members will join me in offering our deepest condolences to a man of peace and a friend to many.

Chris Pendlebury October 2016

The shed on 3rd July 2016. Exhibits being collected together and put into display cases all waiting for final approval.

Photos - John Rutter

And the band (The Bushwackers) played on in the workshop part of the engine shed.

 Mr. Gwilym Hughes Vice President gave the welcoming speech, and invited the Past President, His Honour Geoffrey Kilfoil, to represent Mr Terry Waite our current President, to cut the tape.

Mr Keith Roberts our Chairman, asked The Mayor of Wrexham, Councillor John Pritchard, accompanied by the Mayoress, Ann Pritchard, to cut the cake.

The rebuilt platform complete with seat, lamp post and running in board

What a great day. TEAM G.V.T. Glyn Ceiriog, pulled out all the stops to get the Old Engine Shed looking its best. Early in the day, the boys were outside battling with the weather trying to put the marquee up, the weather had other ideas. They could not believe their luck when the SUN came out and stayed out for the ceremony.

 Mr. Gwilym Hughes Vice President gave the welcoming speech, and invited the Past President, His Honour Geoffrey Kilfoil, to represent Mr Terry Waite our current President, (who could not be with us) to cut the tape.

Once inside Mr Keith Roberts our Chairman, asked The Mayor of Wrexham, Councillor John Pritchard, accompanied by the Mayoress, Ann Pritchard, to cut the cake.