The Court Circular for Thursday 24 July announced that HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, had visited the Nunckley Hill and Rothley Community Centre.
That bald statement covered the massive event of the year at the end of the Mountsorrel branch for Director Steve Cramp and his organising team when the Duke, with the newly appointed Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire, Mr Arvind Michael Kapur OBE, honoured this highly impressive all-age community-led enterprise, spending the morning on a tour of the Heritage Centre and indeed the Railway Museum which exhibits the Rolling Stock Trust’s gem, the memorial 6-wheel carriage, MS&LR no.946.
Accompanied by Steve Cramp, the Duke was met by RST Board members, led by Trustees RST Tony Keeble and Pat Sumner who were responsible for the team rescue and then the restoration from the start of its rebuild in 1999. The Duke was concerned that the carriage, built in 1888, represented so much history. Being one of the last remaining of its type involved in the UK’s worst railway disaster in 1915, having wooden body and high pressure gas tanks, it was dedicated to the so many Leith-raised Royal Scots Battalion caught up in the horrific conflagration at Quintinshill, and also to the fallen of the GCR employees in the Great War.
While with the Victorian carriage the Duke also met with Trustee Roger Penson, upholstery specialist, and archivist Clyde Pennington, so was able to sample the totally reupholstered carriage interior, before moving to the Heritage Centre where he unveiled a plaque recording his visit, placed alongside the previous Royal Family visitor, an intrigued Prince Charles.
One of the star attractions at Nunckley Hill, the finely-finished carriage is ready for visitor inspection every day the Rail Museum at Nunckley Hill is open. Now it’s your turn to come and see for yourselves – and be impressed….you will be!