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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 97 - April 2007

Chairman's Report - Andrew Bratton

We have a Centre and Collection, which is the envy of many other railways and a varied programme for 2007 to ensure our visitors are delighted and want to come back. But not everything in the garden is rosy.

The big railways are putting on ever more attractive galas for gricers and the choice of leisure activities for families becomes increasingly competitive. However, I am confident that we can compete provided we get the message across that a visit to BRC is well worth it and that it is different to any other preserved railway.

You will probably receive this at the same time as the annual accounts, when you will see what a disastrous year 2006 was financially. We need around 44,500 visitors to cover our costs and move forward, last year we only managed to attract 37,000. In 2005 we had 40,000. If we have another year like 2006 we shall be forced to severely reduce the activity at the Centre to remain solvent.

Most of our visitors say they were more than satisfied, so why are more not coming? Did you do all you could to attract visitors in 2006? Were there leaflets in the places you frequent? Such as, the library, pubs, clubs, shops, dentists, doctors, workplace, model railway exhibitions, other railways. etc. etc. if not, do please make an effort this year.

Are our prices too cheap? If we put our prices up another 10% we could manage with 10% fewer visitors. Do please quiz anybody you meet who has been to the Centre to get their thoughts and feed them back to us.

When I started at Quainton in 1969, I imagined that the Centre would be financed like most other charities from bequests and legacies. I also thought that BR would donate much of the Collection, local industry would provide support, the local authority would help us and grants from other charities would be forthcoming. I could not have been more wrong. Even the Government takes a large proportion of our income in the form of unrecoverable VAT, £52,000 in 2006, which I guess helps to finance free admission to national museums like the NRM. Money still floods into the cats' homes, dogs' home and horse sanctuaries, but legacies in favour of the Society have been negligible. BR never gave us anything; we had to bid against scrap dealers for everything. The grants that we do receive are all for specific projects, mainly capital expenditure. For the day-to-day running costs we must rely on visitors. Only a handful of members have been very generous to the Society. With the average age of the volunteer at the Centre continuing to rise, I suspect we shall be forced to engage more paid labour in future years if we are going to operate steam trains as we do now. To survive, the Centre will need more income. One of our members, John Hatton, has included an advertisement in this publication. He will be only too pleased to guide you, should you consider making a bequest to the Society. Do please give it some thought, otherwise future generations will not be able to reap the benefits of what we have achieved.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 2007 and so does not reflect events in the 7+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Chairman's Report - Andrew Bratton - Quainton News No. 97 - April 2007

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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