Riding the Blue and Yellow (or Green)
“We stay open until every child has gone”
A really great favourite of the children who visit Tractorfest, is the little miniature railway – Rileys. What many people won’t know about it though is the heart warming story behind its creation and that it’s named after owners Larry and Sandra’s Lewis’s grandson, seven year old Riley.
Sadly, Riley was born with six serious heart conditions.
In order to acknowledge the subsequent very special care Riley received, and continues to receive, from the most wonderful and talented hospital staff during many hours of operations, at Evelina Childrens hospital, St Thomas’s, Larry and his wife Sandra, asked themselves how they could possibly support and raise much needed funds for this amazing hospital.
Larry Lewis is a railwayman’s son and has been passionate about trains and motorcycles all his life so it seemed a natural progression for him to turn this hobby into something that could benefit the Hospital.
And so it was that Rileys Miniature Railway was born.
Larry runs a class 73 Diesel electric and blue engine (the bear, Rileys mascot, Mr Runton who rides at the front of the of the engine , is a rescue bear found in a puddle at East Runton ) a small 08 diesel shunter standby and their new one which is a B17 LNER steam locomotive. They all run on 600 feet of track and are based at The Lavender Line, Isfield, East Sussex. The Lewis’s attend a few events in the summer including Tractorfest. There’s a charge of 50 pence per ride on Riley’s Railway and that money, together with all the money raised at the few events they attend in the summer months enables them to donate thousands of pounds to the Hospital.
As a not for profit making venture Larry counts on the support of a small team of 6/7 volunteers who help lay seven hundredweight of track at each event and help with the rides.
It’s open from 10-5 but as Larry says ” We stay open until every child has gone”.
I think we can honestly say we are happy they will be at Tractofest again in 2018- go and say ‘Hi’.
Visit Rileys Miniature Railway facebook page for more information.