Peterborough model railway club’s exhibition returns for first time in three years after last show was vandalised

Over £100,000 was crowdfunded for the Market Deeping Model Railway Club in 2019 after the “wanton destruction” of its last exhibition in Stamford - where thousands of hours of work were lost.

By Adam Barker
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 7:11 am

“There were things which happened that Friday night which are unlikely to be replicated ever again,” Peter Davies, chairman of the Market Deeping Model Railway Club, said - reflecting on the last exhibition the club held in May 2019, from his Northborough home.

Market Deeping Model Railway Club will host its first exhibition in three years at Stamford Welland Academy this weekend (May 14-15).

It’s the first show since the cancelled 2019 event, which was broken into and vandalised overnight.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Market Deeping Model Railway Club members Brian Norris, Bill Sowerby, Peter Davies and Mick Quinn with their smashed models.

“My first reaction was that I couldn’t believe it,” the 73-year-old said, when recalling watching on from behind police tape outside the cordoned off school sports hall - on what was supposed to be the morning of the show.

“Never before had anything like it happened. We could see absolutely no reason for it. We couldn’t understand it.

“It was simply wanton destruction. I’ve never seen so many men cry.”

Read More

Read More
Heltwate School confirm they want Hydrotherapy Pool space in letter to council
Market Deeping Model Railway Club member Bill Sowerby pictured in 2019, after the incident.

Tens of thousands of hours of work ‘destroyed’

In total, over £100,000 was crowdfunded to help rebuild the vandalised model railways.

Model railway enthusiast of over 20 years singer Sir Rod Steward also donated £10,000 to support the club and BBC presenter Jeremy Vine also made a contribution.

But for Peter, and the fellow model railway enthusiasts who lost everything that day, no amount of money can ever replace the hours of work put into bringing to life the small worlds they create.

Over £100,000 was crowdfunded to help rebuild the vandalised model railways.

“Some models could never be put back together again,” Peter, who was given his first model railway set 62 year ago, aged 11, said.

“One of the models we’ve managed to resurrect we’re still working on three years later.

“There were years of work in individual models. You can’t begin to estimate the amount of time you put into a model railway. You don’t count the time - you just enjoy the hobby and what you’re doing. You get absorbed in it.

“One model on my layout, just one model, must’ve taken over 100 hours to build. It takes years of experience to get right. So when you think about all of those hours of work on individual models, all of those layouts, all of those individual locomotives - all of which were trashed - you’ve got tens of thousands of hours of work that were destroyed.

“You can understand some people’s reluctance to put their layouts on show, but, at the same time, we’re all proud of our hobby, proud of what we’ve achieved and want to share it.

“We’re very grateful for the many donations we received and we hope to honour some of that with what we’re doing this weekend.”

Reducing the risk of repeat

To mitigate the risk of a repeat of 2019, one of the main sponsors of the exhibition this year is a security company that will provide overnight security. The company also provides security to Network Rail.

After a further two years of cancelled exhibitions because of the pandemic, this year’s two-day weekend event promises the biggest display the Market Deeping Model Railway Club has held in 12-years of hosting the show in Stamford.

“We’re going for broke,” Peter said. “We’re doubling the size of the exhibition and doubling the length of the exhibition - opening both Saturday and Sunday. We’re open across four halls, instead of just two.

“We’ve got 24 layouts coming from across the country. We’ve got 12 traders, again, from across the country, who will be supplying everything people need to better their own layouts.

“We will have demonstrations so people can learn from those building things. It’s going to be a huge show.”

Market Deeping Model Railway Club’s model railway exhibition will be held at Stamford Welland Academy, Green Lane, from 10am - 4.30pm this Saturday and Sunday (May 14 and 15).

Tickets are available to purchase on the day.