Pudsey Civic Centre will play host to Narrow Gauge North 2023 on Sunday 11 March, attracting railway enthusiasts from across the UK and far beyond.
The event has been running since 1994 and has so far raised £110,000 for the Hospice.
Peter Kirkby, one of the organisers who has been involved from the start: “Last year’s event marked our return after the pandemic, and we had around 400 visitors. This year we’re keen to build on that and welcome as many people as possible to come down and take a look. Model building is such a great skill to learn as it touches on so many things and really opens up a world of opportunity around design and technology, architecture, science and engineering. We’re really keen to get more from all backgrounds – young and old – into it!
Come along and find out more about everything involved – from building the board to building the track, the stock, the scenery, the buildings or the electrical work.”
A narrow-gauge railway is a railway with a track gauge that is narrower than the standard 1435mm and is often used for mountainous or rugged terrain.
Peter: “If someone wants to see or create a model railway that’s a bit different from what might be at a standard exhibition, then narrow gauge offers that. It means that rather than copying a prototype, modellers can really use their imagination and build something unique.”
Tickets for the exhibition, which is the largest of its kind in the north of England, cost £10 for adults, and £1 for accompanied children under 16. A family ticket is £15. There is plenty of free parking and hot and cold refreshments available to purchase.
“Our event is open to absolutely everyone,” adds Peter. “It is a real family-friendly, all-inclusive show where you are welcome to come along and look at the model railways and layouts and ask any questions you like.”
There will be lots for visitors to see, with 21 layouts, 13 traders and 9 other stalls in attendance, who are all donating their time to be there for free to help raise vital funds for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.
Peter: “We have selected a real variety of layouts to feature in this year’s show, ranging from those created in smaller spaces, to ones that are considerably larger and more adventurous. There is a mixture of continental and British layouts and there will be an impressive model of the local Abbey Light Railway, which ran in Kirkstall between 1974-2012.
What you notice is the attention to detail – how people capture the look and style of a place, right through to layouts which have sweeping views that you can see all the way across a valley with open green spaces, trees, rivers and bridges. It inspires people to have a go themselves and shows them what they can achieve.”
Putting on the show is a year-long labour of love, but Peter explains that support from the Kirkby family and railway friends has made it possible to put on a great show every year.
“My son Andrew took over the organising of the show in 2018, but shortly after last year’s event, he became unwell and sadly died at the start of 2023. During his illness, his son Oliver continued to support him with Narrow Gauge North and it’s really because of his efforts we can put on the show this year.”
Everyone involved in the show is thrilled with the huge amount that has been raised for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.
“We run this as a fundraising show for Sue Ryder and the exhibitors who come along do so giving their time to help us raise the vital funds. A lot of our exhibitors kindly donate their expenses to the cause too, which is just amazing.
To know we have helped raise more than £110,000 for Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice over the years is a great feeling. It’s a show that everyone enjoys each year but to know we are helping to do something good for the local community adds to the enjoyment.”
Michael Tarbatt, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice: “Everyone at the Hospice is absolutely blown away by the huge amount which has been raised by the volunteer organisers and exhibitors supporting Narrow Gauge North over the past 28 years. The money raised will help us continue to provide the expert and compassionate palliative care we are so well known for in the local community, and fill last days with love.”
Narrow Gauge North 2023 will take place on Sunday 11 March from 10.30 a.m. until 4.30 p.m.
For more information on Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/wheatfields
Photographs provided by Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice.