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Legacy award celebrations for Chair of the Bentham Line

Gerald Townson at Bentham Station with his award. Photo credit: Brian Haworth.

Gerald Townson, long-serving Chair of the Bentham Line, has been honoured with a Legacy Award, in recognition of his work going ‘above and beyond’ to serve the Craven community.

At the final meeting of the Craven District council, Gerald was among 30 individuals and organisations from the Craven District honoured with Legacy Awards, presented by Councillor Simon Myers, Chair of Craven District Council.

Gerald was nominated by members of Bentham Town Council for his services to the Bentham Line, not just in Bentham but across Craven and beyond.

Gerald joined the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (CRP) in 2011 on his retirement from teaching on the South Coast. Since then, he has devoted countless hours to ensuring that the Bentham Line, through the Leeds-Morecambe CRP, plays its part in developing a wide range of community activities that benefit the local community and promote the line.

Such projects and activities have included tourism initiatives, educational work with hundreds of school children, the pioneering award-winning dementia initiative for the route, and community initiatives with university students from across the country on their ‘Year in Industry’ placements with Northern.

Gerald became Chair of the Partnership in 2013 and has driven the organisation forward with determination since then. Gerald’s role within community rail has led him to be involved with a number of different organisations across the rail industry: he is also the secretary of the Lancaster and Skipton Rail User Group, a director at Community Rail Lancashire, and a member of the Community Rail Executive Group at Northern, which represents the public transport industry across the north of England, seeking to create services that are responsive to their communities.

On receiving his Legacy Award, Gerald commented: “I was surprised and delighted to receive the award and pleased to know that the profile of this much-loved route has been raised, reflected in continued growth in passenger numbers.

“It has, of course, been a great team effort by all the directors and officers to bring the many positive initiatives to fruition.”