85-Year-Old Railway Worker Visits Severn Valley for the First Time in a Decade - Ideal Carehomes

85-Year-Old Railway Worker Visits Severn Valley for the First Time in a Decade

85-year-old Alfred Astbury from Foley Grange care home took a trip down memory lane when he visited Severn Valley Railway Station, where he had volunteered for three decades.

First visiting the Severn Valley Railway Station in the 1970s with his family, Alfred enjoyed seeing the trains run from Bridgnorth to Hampton Lodge. He started volunteering when the railway extended to Kidderminster.

During his time volunteering, Alfred would travel from his home on the Wirral to work on the railway and even helped to restore vintage train carriages at Severn Valley Railway Museum.

Alfred’s son, Colin, followed in Alfred’s footsteps, having worked and volunteered on the Severn Valley Railway for 40 years now. Colin said,

‘Dad and I worked on the footplate of the steam engine that passes the site of the Sugar Beet Factory in Kidderminster, which is where Foley Grange care home was built in 2021.

‘Dad’s room at Foley Grange overlooks the Falling Sands Viaduct so he can watch our trains go by. When I’m driving the train, I always wave and blow the whistle when I pass!’

After hearing Alfred’s tales of volunteering at the railway, the team at Foley Grange couldn’t wait to take Alfred back to the station where so many of his most cherished memories were created. This would be the first time Alfred would see the Severn Valley Railway in ten years.

Joined by his family, Alfred and the care team at Foley Grange went along to the Severn Valley Railway’s ‘Step Back to the 1940’s’ event, where they admired the steam trains, met the train drivers and conductors, and enjoyed tea and cake in the Severn Valley Café.

Alfred smiled from ear to ear when he was given the chance to blow one of the train’s whistles. He said,

‘I found the trip very enjoyable! I love talking to the other residents about the trains because I know a lot about them from when I volunteered at the railway.

‘My favourite part of the day was when I got to the blow the whistle with my son and stepped up on the footplate, as this was something I used to do when I worked there. It was nice to be able to go back after so many years.’

Hannah Atkinson, the Home Manager at Foley Grange, said, ‘We all had a fantastic day at Severn Valley Railway’s ‘Step Back to the 1940’s’ event, but no one more than Alfred!

‘It was amazing to hear him talk so passionately about the trains and his memories from working there. At Foley Grange, we’re always looking for ways to give our residents unforgettable experiences that they’ll cherish, so it was a pleasure to see Alfred enjoying his trip down memory lane.’

To find out more about living at Foley Grange in Kidderminster, you can call 01562 543366 or email foley.grange@idealcarehomes.co.uk.

Foley Grange is a purpose-built luxury residential and dementia care home, operated by Ideal Carehomes. Named a Top 100 Luxury Care Home by Knight Frank, Foley Grange offers 66 ensuite bedrooms, and provides person-centred care and a full and varied activities programme to ensure fullness of life for residents.