Progress Report August 2023


The first sales opportunity of the year took place on 29 - 30th April 2023 to co-incide with the Railway's Gala to welcome back Alice and Holy War into service.  Unfortunately the decision to attend the Gala was taken too late to send out a general invitation to subscribers to attend the event although the two Committee Members who manned the stall were able to cope and raised over £700 over the two-day session.  The next opportunity will be over the August Bank Holiday weekend 26 - 28 August, which will be at the Railway's annual Steam Gala, where subscribers will be most welcome to attend and share the experience of manning the stall.  The next opportunity will be at the AGM in September, whilst the final visit will be at the Model Railway Show, which will be held at the usual venue in Bala on the weekend of 16 - 17 September.  Entrance to the Show will be free for any subscriber who will be attending the stall at some time during the weekend.  Please let me know if you will be able to attend on any of these dates so that I can make appropriate arrangements. 


The Fund has held AGMs in September for most of its existence (since 1967) for a number of reasons, one of which was that "it had always been done that way". This may not have been a sound basis for making the decisions but it has given a stability and a "house date" that many subscribers have adhered to.  More recently however it has been found that there has been much pressure on the September slot as it falls between the August Gala and the Bala Model Railway Show. Both of these are excellent venues for the Fund's stall, implying that 3 visits are required within  a space of 4 weeks or so, rather a large commitment given the need for transporting sales items and the stall to and from Llanuwchllyn.  At the 2022 AGM the possibility of changing the month for the AGM was considered and the Secretary indicated that he would provide a position paper on the matter so that subscribers would have the opportunity to vote on a likely replacement.  Unfortunately, this paper was not produced in time to affect the date of this year's AGM, so it has been decided to leave the date as 9 September and hold a consultation with subscribers in time for the 2024 season.  



These name plates were discussed initially at the 2022 AGM.  When Maid Marian and other early Hunslet locos were delivered to the Dinorwic Quarry they were given a name plate by Hunslets. In Maid Marian's case it was No: 5, whilst No: 3 was attached to Holy War's tanks. It was the fact that No: 3 plates are now attached to the cab side of Holy War, as well as the "Holy War's" plates on the tank that prompted the discussion about producing a pair of No: 5 plates for Maid Marian. The AGM agreed that the Fund should obtain a pair of No: 5 plates for the loco and that additional plates should be cast at the same time, with a view to selling them to interested subscribers.  An original No: 2 name plate was made available by Robert Jones, who is a Committee Member and who has close contact with Llanberis; this has been used to commission a new wooden pattern based on the  Hunslet original.  A total run of 10 brass castings has been made, of which 6 remain available for sale as 2 have already been sold.  The other 2 have been drilled and painted red to match the colour scheme; they can be seen displayed on Maid Marian's cab side.  The price is £250 each, plus carriage unless the plate is purchased at the stall.  The new wooden pattern has been produced with a blank space  so that the appropriate number might be tacked in place; there is possibly sufficient space for up to 2 digits if anyone would wish to commission a house number of their own! 


At the AGM the Secretary informed the meeting that he would no longer be able to maintain his practice of transporting the stall and the accompanying stock to and from his home and Llanuwchllyn and that he would be standing down from this task after the 2023 AGM.  He had taken on this task from an earlier stage in the Fund's development; initially it had been a light duty in addition to those of Secretary.  When the loco'ss boiler failed its inspection in 2007 there was an immediate necessity to increase the Fund's commercial activities to fund the commission of the new boiler from Israel Newton, the former boilermakers from Bradford. Sufficient funds became available following an appeal to subscribers when a large sum of money was raised.  This was topped up by interest-free loans from two subscribers.  These loans have finally been paid off but there have been subsequent expenses such as the provision of a new tank, back plate for the cab and the acquisition of an original works plate for the loco which means that there will be a steady need to continue to raise funds.  There are generally 4 sales opportunities per year, either at Llanuwchllyn or at Bala, with only a couple of occasions where there might be a different venue.  Initial duties will be the housing and transport of stock to and from the sales venues, followed up by a greater involvement in the production of sales items in the future.  Every opportunity will be provided to ease the transfer of responsibilities (which, incidentally, do not involve the responsibility of being Secretary).  Please contact the Secretary via email at for further discussion of details, and / or by telephone at 01302 539897.  


The 2024 calendar is in the process of being compiled and it is hoped that a number of calendars will be available for the August Gala, the remainder arriving in time for the AGM and the subsequent Christmas season.  The successful selection of No 1 Christmas cards which were last produced in 2019 is being repeated, again in theme for the Gala.  These are in addition to the usual stock of sales items which include a number of items from the general collection of the late John Firth and which are being sold to raise money for the loco.  A list of postal sales items will be included in the next Progress Report included with the AGM papers.  


The Committee would like to take the opportunity of wishing all subscribers the Season's Greetings and the hope that 2021 will bring more opportunities than 202 has done. Keep safe!

Hugh Jones Honorary Secretary 04.12.20

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