Riley's Miniature Railway station at the Lavender Line, Isfield.

Miniature railway volunteers overwhelmed by response to appeal

Volunteers running a miniature railway to raise funds for a children’s hospital are overwhelmed by the response to their own crowdfunding appeal.

Yesterday morning Riley’s Miniature Railway, based at the Lavender Line, Isfield, had been promised £90 but then more donations followed including a generous £1,000 which took them over their first target.

Now the target, and the deadline for fund-raising, have been stretched to £2,000 and October 27.


One of the volunteers Graham Lelliott told Uckfield News that he had spoken to Larry and Sandra Lewis who set up the railway to raise funds for the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London which provides ongoing support for their grandson Riley.

Graham said: “They are quite overwhelmed by the whole thing, the railway being something that’s very personal to them. I’ve contacted all those who have supported this appeal and have thanked everyone.

“People have been so generous and it’s difficult to express how grateful we are just by saying the words ‘thank you’.

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“All I would say is if they were to visit us we would ask them to please make themselves known so we can thank them personally, and perhaps give them a personal tour of our railway and show them what we intend to spend the money on.

“As explained we don’t take anything from the donations we receive, and we are a friendly bunch who give up spare time for the enjoyment of others, especially the children who visit, and obviously to raise funds for the Evelina Children’s Hospital, London.

“We do, of course, get enjoyment from running the railway, socialising with each other and meeting people from all walks of life. For some of us it also offers some escapism from the daily grind and can be a great way of reducing stress and unwinding.


“However, having said that, maintaining the railway and keeping it safe puts enormous pressure on the few volunteers both physically and financially.

“Due to the success of other people’s crowdfunding appeals we felt we’d give it a go to see how well we’d get on and to help with current maintenance issues but also to try to get a reserve of funds.

“With life’s pressures, unexpected surprises plus certain issues we’re already aware of, we felt it would be a good idea to see if we could try and get some funds in place so we can secure the railway’s future, so it can continue to raise funds for the Evelina.


“We don’t wish to blow the money in one hit, that is not our objective, it will be used very wisely on necessities. It is also worth pointing out that if for any reason Riley’s Miniature Railway was to close, the remaining money would be donated to the Evelina Children’s Hospital.

“Below is a list of things that will be required imminently and things that will be needed in the future but generally, in a nut shell, it is all down to general maintenance of existing features. Some things are relatively inexpensive although parts which are obtainable from miniature railway suppliers can be ridiculously and unnecessarily expensive due to their specialised nature:

  • Public liability insurance (annually)
  • Rail
  • Sleepers
  • Screws
  • Ballast
  • Points
  • Turntable rebuild
  • Replacement parts for RMR locomotives including batteries, electronic and control replacement or repair
  • Replacement parts for passenger and driving trucks such as wheel or bogie replacement
  • Tickets
  • Wood for fencing, tunnel, signal box, carriage shed, station canopy, bridge, sleeper replacement 
  • Wood preservatives 
  • Paint
  • Gardening tools, such as shears
  • New loco/carriage shed
  • Roofing material for station canopy
  • Printing costs for our leaflet when required
  • Any other miscellaneous items 


“We do of course welcome those who would like to join us to help with the operation and maintenance of the railway such as track work repairs, cutting back foliage, painting, driving, etc.

“Perhaps you have your very own 5 inch gauge locomotive you’d like to run on our railway. A chat on one of our running days is generally the best way forward in seeing if it’s something you’d like to get involved with.”

Read more about Riley’s Miniature Railway and the crowdfunding appeal in another Uckfield News story: Fund-raising miniature railway needs help to secure future.

• The Riley’s Miniature Railway crowdfunder appeal can be found here:

• Riley’s Miniature Railway will be open on Sunday, September 29, and again during the Lavender Line’s gala on Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6.

See also:

Preparations for next phase of Ridgewood Farm development

Mayflower and Britannia to visit Bluebell Railway

Ridgewood fireworks cancelled

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