A SPECIAL train journey could prove just the ticket for charity when the Spring Scenic Settler trip takes place on Saturday (May 17).
The special event marks a joint venture between Stroud-based charity Meningitis Now and Woodchester-based Pathfinder Tours, with the aim of raising money and awareness of the disease.
Passengers will be able to board the train at Swindon, Kemble, Stroud, Stonehouse and Cheltenham Spa then settle down for a 600-mile day trip which will include a full English breakfast, elevenses and a four-course dinner. The menu, inspired by Gloucestershire produce, is being prepared by Cotswold chef Rob Rees.
The train travels up to the Lake District and Morecambe Bay before a two-hour stop in Carlisle. It will then set off on the return journey, taking in the spectacular scenery of the Settle to Carlisle railway line.
Along the way there’ll be a fundraising raffle, and awareness stands and collections. Money from the event will go towards Meningitis Now, the organisation formed by last year’s merger of the Meningitis Trust and Meningitis UK.
Charity founder Steve Dayman, who launched the UK’s meningitis movement after losing his baby son to the disease in 1982, said: “Awareness drives – or in this case, train trips – are vital in helping to save lives. Every penny raised from the raffle and collections will help us continue to fund pioneering vaccine research to wipe out the disease.”
Pathfinder Tours first held a similar awareness trip in 1987 when the charity was known as the Meningitis Trust. General manager Peter Watts said: “We supported the charity when it was initially setting out on its important work. When we heard about the merger, we thought it was a perfect time to re-energise our relationship as part of our community involvement, and we hope to develop this further down the track.”
Tickets for the special trip start from £79 for adults and £39 for children, with Premier Dining tickets costing £199 and £169.
More details are available on www.pathfindertours.co.uk