Community railway which brought joy to 5-year-old Benedict has future secured thanks to money raised in his memory

“Benedict loved the railway. He was train obsessed, and knew every single one of the hundreds of Thomas the Tank characters, and we spent most weekends visiting local railways, but Fenland Light Railway was his favourite.”

By Stephen Briggs
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 3:00 pm
Benedict at the railway
Benedict at the railway

The mum of a schoolboy who died suddenly after falling ill has spoken of the joy a community railway brings to youngsters after the future of the scheme was secured thanks to money raised in his memory.

Following his death £25,000 was raised in his name.

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Benedict loved visiting the Fenland Light Railway with his family

One of Benedict’s passions was trains – with his favourite place to visit being the Fenland Light Railway in Ramsey.

Benedict’s family have donated £11,000 to the railway, securing its future so scores of other youngsters can get the same joy from the attraction as the five year-old did.

The money has been spent on buying the land the railway is based on, after the attraction previously rented the space.

“For us as parents, the look of joy on his face was just magical”

Helen said: “Benedict loved the railway. He was train obsessed, and knew every single one of the hundreds of Thomas the Tank characters, and we spent most weekends visiting local railways, but Fenland Light Railway was his favourite.

"For us as parents, the look of joy on his face was just magical. We’re forever grateful for them creating such a simple but lovely place for children. If you’re a small boy who loves trains there really is nothing better than seeing a small team train, going on rides under the tunnel, and watching small model versions chuff around a small track.”

"It became more important for us to use the money in a way that really made a difference”

The idea of donating the money to the railway came after a few hundred pounds had been raised in Benedict’s memory.

Helen said: “Initially we reached out to the railway when we had a few hundred pounds donated. We were amazed to have raised that amount, and were keen to think about things that we could use the money for to remember him – creating a plaque perhaps and thinking about naming something after him.

“As the money mounted, it became more important for us to use the money in a way that really made a difference.”

"We’re so pleased that Benedict’s legacy will be the long term security of the railway”

Along with the land, the money has been spent buying a plaque, and subsidising allergy-friendly egg, nut and dairy free cakes – as Benedict suffered from allergies.

Helen said they had met with people from the railway, when the opportunity to help arose.

She said: "By luck, at around the same time the opportunity to buy the land had come up and we were in the fortunate position that the donation we would be able to give alongside a small loan from a volunteer would allow them to buy the land.

“We’re so pleased that Benedict’s legacy will be the long term security of the railway, ensuring that it’s there to be enjoyed for as long as there are volunteers to run it and that many many more children with be able to build magical childhood memories.”