Yesterday (Monday, 17 April), colleagues from Network Rail and DB Cargo UK handed over a cheque for £200,000 to Martin House Children’s Hospice.

The huge sum is the culmination of four years of fundraising by the rail industry. The money has been raised through the organisation of special charter train tours for the charity, which have taken place up and down the country. The most recent tour ran last month between Whitby and Derby, and raised over £3000 for the charity.

The charter tours began in 2019 and were started after a colleague from Network Rail, Charlotte Bullock, used the services of Martin House Children’s Hospice to help care for her young son Luca, who was born with multiple disabilities. Luca tragically passed away aged just 11, and the support and care given by the charity during this difficult time was invaluable.

Determined to give something back, the rail industry worked together to begin organising tours and raising money for this worthy cause.  Organising the tours is no mean feat and each tour involves a five month process to plan the route and involves colleagues from all different parts of the rail industry working together, with all of the tours managed, staffed and run by volunteers from the sector.

Charlotte sadly passed away in 2022 but she will remain the inspiration and driving force behind the fundraising activity. The £200,000 raised can pay for four nurses for a year to provide specialist care and support to children and young people at the hospice.

Robyn Mountain-Wade, Deputy Director of Income Generation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be continuing to partner with the charter train team. Their ongoing support for Martin House is invaluable, and it allows us to continue to support children and young people when they need us the most.

“We are incredibly grateful for their continuing support; the team have very much become an extension of the Martin House family, and we can’t wait to see what the coming year has in store.”

Jerry Dickinson, Senior Incident Controller for Network Rail, said: “It was such an honour to be able to present this cheque today as we know it will help children and their families in times of need. I’ve seen first-hand the great work which the charity does, and the real difference they make to people’s lives, so we’re delighted to have raised so much money for a fantastic cause.

“However, we’re determined to raise even more money and we’re planning more tours for the coming year so that we can continue to honour both Luca and Charlotte’s memory. I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who has been involved in the tours, whether that’s planning routes or volunteering on the day; it wouldn’t be possible without each and every one of you.”

DB Cargo UK’s Dave Jenkinson, a Safety Assurance Manager and avid supporter of Martin House, said:

“It’s great to be able to put DB Cargo UK’s expertise in delivering high quality charter trains to such good use and raise much-needed funds for such a worthy cause. We often talk about the railway ‘family’, so it’s fantastic to be able to support a charity like Martin House which has helping families at its heart.”