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Thomas gets new wheels

The wheels and chassis which have carried Thomas for over 20 years originally carried Round Table’s Santa sleigh and were taken from a caravan owned by Round Tabler Tony Turner. When it was decided that the sleigh had had its day, Round Table member and past Rotarian Geoff Pritchard built Thomas to the official specification of the Thomas copyright holders at that time. Geoff received help from Tony

Bishop, Frank Brooks and Peugeot. He estimated the cost at £6,000.

Thomas the Tank Engine carried Father Christmas to Faringdon Lights-On for the very first time on 1st December 1994 during Stuart Spencer’s presidential year. At that time, Round Table membership was dwindling and they were unable to maintain the number of collection nights and so Fundraising around Faringdon and surrounding villages was a joint project with Round Table and raised £800.

Round Table closed down in 1998. The 41 Club took over from Table and shared the 1999 and 2000 collections 50/50. Rotary took sole responsibility from Christmas 2001 when 41 Club entrusted Thomas to our care on a permanent basis and concentrated on maintaining Faringdon’s annual fireworks display. That’s another story.

Since that first day in 1994 - except for 1998 for which there is no record - Thomas has raised £65,332. Now, sitting on his new trailer he should serve us well and bring pleasure to children and parents alike for a good few years to come. Congratulations to Tony, Ray, Roger and Colin for all their efforts with the refurbishment.

Michael Cook

Tim & Linda at Heathrow Terminal 2 collecting for Children in Need

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