Sunday March 30th marks the 1st Anniversary of Aspergers Fundraiser, the organisation set up by Oliver Morgan, Young Person Group volunteer on the Railway. It all started with KWVR tour guide Ollie, and fellow volunteer Joseph Halloway having their heads shaved at Oxenhope 1 year ago in order to increase awareness of Aspergers Syndrome and raise money for the National Autistic Society. That severest of haircuts raised a superb £1,200.
On the back of that one event he set up ‘The Aspergers Flyer’, a tour of the heritage railways of Britain to raise awareness of the condition. A few months later, on 19th August, the volunteers of the ‘Flyer’ were proud to be able to run their first Flyer with BR 4MT 2-6-4T 80002 at the head. The day coincided with the railway being presented with the publicity award and as a result local dignitaries, including Society President, Ann Cryer, were present. It was a proud moment for Ollie and his team to present their work to them in the Club Car.
In just a few months, the three member team had 15 heritage railways agreeing to run ‘Flyers’, either special or service trains carrying the iconic ‘The Aspergers Flyer’ headboard that has become symbolic of the organisations campaign. The extent of the support they receive varies. The Talyllyn and Llanberis narrow gauge railways in Wales are operating exclusive trains, the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in Derbyshire are running 3 days in May and June and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway are running the ‘Flyer’ on normal trains with the 7th June run being right through to Whitby as part of their two day D-Day anniversary commemorations. The National Railway Museum at York and the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust are now partners, the former allowing the headboard to be carried by the repatriated LNER A4’s and in the near future both Duchess of Sutherland and Princess Margaret Rose will have carried the headboard at Butterley.
On Sunday 30th of March, ‘The Aspergers Flyer’ will be returning to the Worth Valley, ready for the 11:00 departure from Oxenhope. So we would encourage everybody to fill the train and show your support to Oliver and his small team of dedicated volunteers. If you cannot make it on the 30th, then 19th August and 25th / 26th of October are dates for further ‘Flyers’.
We will leave the final words to Oliver himself:
“All the staff are volunteers and the Railway means so much to us. We’re proud of our work for the railway, hence why we enjoy bringing the ‘Flyer’ home. The 30th is our first birthday, one year of our work. While that is very little compared to the amazing history of our line, we are proud of the rate at which our work is coming of age.”
“In just a few months, our three member team had signed up around 15 railways to run ‘Flyers’ this year. All we want from the Worth Valley is the chance to have our headboard on normal service trains on several dates this year to continue to raise awareness. We just want the chance to bring our train home to show all you, our friends, just a bit of the work we’re doing.”
“The 30th promises to be a great celebration of just what you can achieve if you put your mind to it. What you can do to be remembered!”