Train operator GWR has added the names of two remarkable youngsters to one of its trains to celebrate their fundraising achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Football fan Lincoln Callaghan was aged just five when he answered a fundraising appeal from his beloved home-town club. Didcot Town, known as The Railwaymen, launched an appeal last April to raise £10,000 to help ends meet during the pandemic.
Lincoln asked dad Chris if they could do a cycle ride to help raise funds and used the exercise time allowed to complete the 100k challenge and raise more than £2,250. The duo then started an online scratch card competition which raised a further £1,000.
Henry Cleary, from Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, became concerned about the plight of homeless people during the pandemic, so the seven-year-old decided to do something about it. He set himself the challenge of running a marathon in just 10 days, with the target of raising £262 – £10 per mile –for homeless charity Crisis.
In fact, Henry managed to complete his marathon in just nine days, with a sprint finish at the end! He was cheered on every day by neighbours and key worker children from his school, who took to the streets to clap Henry as he ran past, and he finally raised a total of more than £10,000.
As a result of their efforts, the pair were selected as the BBC Make a Difference Superstars by judges following a link-up between the BBC and GWR to celebrate those people going above and beyond to help others in their communities.
Now their names feature at either end of high-speed Intercity Express Train number 800030, as GWR begins the task of honouring the BBC Make a Difference Superstars from nine regions across the network.
The National Railway Museum (NRM) believes Lincoln and Henry are the youngest non-royal to have trains named in their honour.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris commented: “Lincoln and Henry have shown incredible resolve and dedication as brilliant fundraisers, and I know their families, friends and communities will be incredibly proud of their achievements.
“Having their names on the side of a GWR train cements their status as Great Westerners, and I congratulate them on this well-deserved honour.”
Great Western Railway Managing Director Mark Hopwood added: “Lincoln and Henry went to incredible lengths to support such worthy causes and we’re thrilled to add their names to the side of an Intercity Express Train.
“The GWR has a long and proud history of naming trains after Great Westerners – past and present heroes from across our network – and it’s a real treat to add two such kind-hearted youngsters to that list.
“It was a privilege to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign and the stories which featured on BBC local radio were truly overwhelming.”