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Charities to be invited to spend a day on the railway with East Midlands Trains
Today (Thursday 30 October), East Midlands Trains launched a new programme of experiences for charities across the region.
The train operator has introduced ‘The East Midlands Trains Experience’ so that local charities and community groups can benefit from a once in a life time adventure on board their trains and at their stations.
Each experience begins with a tour around the home station from the route or station manager, the guest will then be invited to make announcements, dispatch a train, sell a ticket and serve tea and coffee in the first class lounge before visiting the signal box. The lucky guest will then be invited onto an East Midlands Trains service and will have a bird’s eye view of the track as they travel along in the drivers cab. They’ll then experience the delight of first class on a trip to London enjoying lunch on route. After a guided tour of London St Pancras the guest will re-board the train and travel first class back home.
‘The East Midlands Trains Experience’, was the brainchild of Area Station Manager Jason Cocker, who has worked extensively with local charities over recent years. He said, “I have been thinking of ways to support local charities and community groups for a while. Our employees often help to fundraise for important causes and we open the doors of our stations regularly to help charities to raise their profiles. But I knew we could go one step further. Coming up with the ‘East Midlands Trains Experience’ was the perfect way of offering an adventure that money can’t buy. By offering this opportunity we hope to put a smile on the face of the people that deserve it most. We also hope that an opportunity like this might help a charity to raise even more funds for their important causes.”
In recognition of the train operator’s close relationship with The Children’s Hospital Charity, Jason arranged for one of their patients to be the first beneficiary.
Sophie Lewis, 18, of Healing near Grimsby, Lincolnshire, has raised over £600 for The Children’s Hospital Charity to thank them for 17 years of treatment.
The teen was first treated at The Children’s Hospital in Sheffield at just 18-months-old for scoliosis and was later diagnosed with complex congenital abnormality – which means her pelvis is deformed in several places.
In 2013, Sophie became the youngest person in the UK to have pioneering surgery to add six centimetres to one of her legs using magnets hidden in the bone.
A year after her treatment, she hosted a charity football match with her brother Matthew, 14, who is also treated at The Children’s Hospital for Crohn’s disease. They pitched coaches against parents of players at Grimsby Borough Football club.
Sophie said, “I was so excited about the experience day. I had always wondered about how trains work because I travel on them all the time back and forth to appointments at the hospital. I was so grateful to be able to do it as well, because I didn’t expect anything. It just sounded like a great day.”
She added: “After being under the care of the children's hospital since I was 18 months old, and now that my brother is also being treated there for Crohn's disease, it is a cause very close to our family and in our hearts.
"We have received the best possible care anyone could ever wish for and we want to give back to the hospital in any way we can.”
David Vernon-Edwards, director of The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “This is a great opportunity for Sophie – a patient turned fundraiser for our charity. We are so grateful for all her hard work to raise money for us, and are amazed at how far she has come since she was first admitted to The Children’s Hospital all those years ago. She is certainly deserving of this fantastic experience, so thanks to East Midlands Trains for giving her this chance.”
Jason Cocker finished, “We are delighted that Sophie had such a great day and we look forward to arranging more East Midlands Trains Experiences for worthy recipients in the coming months.”