Family and friends gathered at Ashburys Station on Wednesday 16 November to mark the dedication of a plaque in memory of Paul Abell, who sadly passed away in autumn 2021.
Paul was widely known in railway circles and was a former editor of Today’s Railways UK. From 2017 onwards, Paul worked closely with the Friends of Glossop Station and other contributors on the project to equip every station on the Glossop Line with a Heritage Information Board. Paul created the contents for the boards at Ashburys and Gorton railway stations, and was closely involved in the development of the remaining ten. Each board stands in proud tribute to Paul’s railway and social knowledge.
The plan to create a plaque in Paul’s memory began back in January, and with the involvement of his family at all stages, the plaque was designed and developed in the spring and summer. The foundry firm of Leander at Dove Holes brought the family’s design and wording – featuring a tram and a steam engine – to life. As Paul had spent his early years in Gorton, it was decided that Ashburys Station was a fitting home for the plaque, alongside the heritage board he was so instrumental in creating. The plaque was kindly installed by ISS, in conjunction with Northern.
Owain Roberts, Northern Stakeholder Manager, welcomed everyone to the station and in a speech covered Paul’s diverse career which included a spells in the Navy and teaching Mathematics. He was also a volunteer with various organisations and was a fully passed out heritage tram driver! Brian, Paul’s son, followed Owain with railway recollections of his father. On conclusion Neil Williams, from Friends of Glossop Station, presented Shirley, Paul’s wife, with flowers on behalf of all present.
Everyone then left by train to have light refreshments by kind invitation in the office of Northern Station Manager Theo McLauchlan at Guide Bridge. The refreshments were kindly sponsored by TfGM.
The costs of the plaque were generously covered by donations from Northern, Community Rail Network, Transport for Greater Manchester, South East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership, Railfuture, Platform 5 Publishing, Friends of Hadfield Station and Friends of Glossop Station.
The family are delighted with the plaque and they hope that Paul’s memory will be kept alive by all who see it passing by in trains and by those using the station.