Wednesday, 4 April 2012
LOCAL HEROES AWARDS 2012
Yesterday I was astonished to receive an email from Middlewich town Council telling me that I had been awarded the Mayor's Award in this year's Local Hero Awards for my work on A Middlewich Diary and the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign.
I am, needless to say, absolutely delighted at this development and I'd like to thank whoever it was that put in the nomination.
It also goes without saying that this award is, as they always say at Award Ceremonies, 'not really for me' but for everyone who has helped me make the Middlewich Diary what it has so quickly become - a part of the town.
A Middlewich Diary (the original title was to have been 'The Middlewich Blog', which just sounds awful) started last June after several 'dry runs' on Facebook and the Salt Town website and many people very quickly caught on to what I was trying to do, i.e. to show people what the town was like in former days and - this has become more and more important as the Diary has developed - what is happening nowadays.
I don't, incidentally, subscribe to the 'Middlewich used to be a lovely town, but they ruined it' school of thought.
This town is far more attractive now than it ever was in the past but it is fascinating to look back over all those old photographs and see the town in its drab, hard working salt town heyday.
So may I thank all the contributors to A Middlewich Diary and, in particular, Geraldine Williams, Cliff Astles, Jim Moores, Mike Jennings, Dave Thompson, Kerry Fletcher, Daniel Preston, Carole Hughes, Paul Hough, Kath & Barry Walklate, Chris Koons, Maureen Condra, Ewan Macdonald, Margaret Williams and Paul Greenwood. Not forgetting, of course (as if we could) Sherry Hill-Smith over there in the colonies (see comments, below).
There will, of course, be one or more major contributors who I have completely forgotten about so, to spare my blushes, it's you I mean.
As for the Middlewich Rail Link Campaign - it has been running now for twenty years and for most of those years I have been chairman of the committee.
Twenty years, believe me, is not a long time for such a campaign to run.
At a meeting once a very silly woman told me, ' don't give up your day job' because 'you haven't got very far, have you?'.
Rather than throwing a pint of Robinson's Bitter over her, which was my first instinct, I gave her a wry smile and a lecture on how these things work.
Whatever it is you are campaigning for you have to keep going on and on about it until people are sick of hearing about it. You have to ignore the naysayers and the people who 'can tell you quite categorically' (without a shred of evidence) that 'you're wasting your time' and 'it'll never work' and you just have to keep on keeping on..
MRLC has proved what it set out to prove: that a rail service from Crewe to Manchester via Sandbach, Middlewich and Northwich would be a viable and, some say, even a profitable venture.
Survey after survey has indicated this over the years, including two feasibility studies commissioned and paid for by MRLC and its parent group the Mid-Cheshire Rail Users' Association.
The stumbling block now is Network Rail, who are demanding exorbitant amounts of money just to look at our proposals.
However, our policy remains what it always has been: never take no for an answer.
Re-opening of the railway and a new station for Middlewich are absolutely vital for the town's regeneration, and we won't stop campaigning until it happens.
And again I have to thank the people who have done the real work, as distinct from my own role which has been to chair meetings in a slightly bemused way, listening to people who really know what they're talking about, and just keeping on telling everyone what a good idea it all is.
So can I just mention Stephen Dent, Cllr Mike Parsons, Vernon Perkins, Harry Boardman, Peter Cox and all the other members of the MRLC committee and the Steering Group, whose efforts will, I know, win through in the end.
SEE ALSO: LOCAL HEROES AWARDS 2012 - THE MAYOR'S AWARD