Ex-military treated to VIP visit to major attraction

East Kent Mind’s veterans project was given an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the One:One Collection to see how progress of this planned visitor attraction is developing.

Two dozen ex-military, reservists and adult family members from Canterbury, Ramsgate and Birchington joined the visit, which was led by Frank Martin, who is taking the lead to develop the attraction based next to the Hornby Visitor Centre in Broadstairs.

Attendees ranged in age from 9 to 90 and included a number of veterans new to the project, which is led by Karen Brinkman, East Kent Mind’s Armed Forces Connector.

The One:One Collection is a unique collection of historic locomotives, rolling stock and maintenance vehicles – some of which are the only remaining example of their kind – founded on a passion for rail and a desire to preserve them for future generations.

These rare and exciting pieces of rail and engineering history are being brought together for the first time in Thanet by Locomotive Storage Ltd, with each vehicle in the collection painstakingly restored to museum quality.

Some of The One:One Collection is owned privately and some by the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust, with many pieces based at various railway locations around the UK, notably Crewe and Southall. The creation of The One:One Collection visitor attraction will give the general public the opportunity to view these iconic exhibits.

When looking for a space big enough to house these historic icons, the organisation was thrilled to have the chance to put them on the site that has been home to Hornby since the 1950s. So, since 2018, The One:One Collection has been taking shape in one of Hornby’s 130,000 sq ft former warehouses.

First to arrive was the Class A4 locomotive ‘Bittern’, the sister engine to the famous ‘Mallard’, quickly joined by guest loco BR 45379 ‘Black Five’ Class 5MT , then the ‘Cowans Sheldon’ 50 tonnes breakdown crane and several historically important coaches. The diminutive but equally important ‘Wickham Trolley’ followed soon afterwards.

More locos and carriages quickly joined them, including an early Eurostar, a Deltic, and the funeral carriage of Winston Churchill. And from time to time we’ll also be joined by further exciting exhibits.

To find out more about the East Kent Mind’s veterans project visit www.eastkentmind.org.uk/veterans or email karenbrinkman@eastkentmind.org.uk

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