When Dave Carlisle broke his hip and leg in a cycling accident, he used a period of enforced bedrest to form the beginnings of the Friends of Buxton Station (FoBS). He formulated ideas and started to gather people together, determined to make a positive difference to the town. The group initially focused on litter picking and gardening, but Dave immediately took it upon himself to seek out funding that would allow the group to expand and develop. Although the railway station was at the heart of projects, Dave always endorsed and supported other local community projects, ensuring this was reflected in FoBS’ constitution.
FoBS’ colleagues say that the starting point for many of the group’s pioneering projects has been Dave, saying: “Right, we’re going to do this. What’s stopping us?” His approach is described as “innovative”, and “a breath of fresh air”, and his determination and passion ensure he always gets results. He is extremely persuasive – as local council planning officers can testify! – but also inclusive of everyone and happy to share his knowledge and ideas. This can be seen in his pride at mentoring a newly established adoption group at Dove Holes Station, and his enthusiasm when showcasing FoBS’ projects and good practice at community rail and rail industry events. His positive attitude is infectious, and he is always sure to thank anyone who supports the group’s work.
In recent years, Dave has led FoBS to success in projects ranging from the installation of a defibrillator housed in an old phone box at the station, to a host of wildlife and biodiversity schemes, including the creation of a ‘Japanese Garden’ and a campaign to support Buxton’s rare and endangered Bilberry bumblebee. To support their community during the pandemic, Dave and FoBS produced the ‘Retail Rail Trail’ to encourage people to continue to use local businesses, and devised the ‘Mini-saga challenge’, a writing competition designed to promote positive mental health.
FoBS are admired and valued as an integral part of their community, and Dave is said to be “pivotal” to this success, driving the group forward to always go “above and beyond”. They have been recognised with success at the Community Rail Awards, been named ‘heritage heroes’ by Buxton Civic Association, and in June 2021, had the honour of receiving the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. While it is a true team effort, Dave’s community focus and attitude as chair to constantly strive for excellence is often the catalyst for “making stuff happen”, and he is a shining example of leadership within community rail.