LETTER: Find out about Sussex treasure

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I wondered if you’d publish this letter as I just wanted to tell you and let others know in Sussex of a little treasure we found not too far away in the hope that others will also support this small children’s attraction.

My family and I visited The Lavender Line, a heritage railway running for about a mile from Isfield Station, East Sussex, not far from Uckfield and in which I understand is completely run by volunteers.

This was an enjoyable visit looking at and travelling behind a steam engine and heritage diesels from days of yesteryear, however, this is not the reason for contacting you.

On the opposite platform from the ticket office we found an additional attraction to the railway but which is run completely separately to the heritage railway and again by volunteers and all for the benefit of a charity.

This attraction is called Riley’s Miniature Railway and runs behind the platform and a little further on to the north. Funnily enough our two children were more excited with seeing the miniature train than the real things sitting in the station behind them.

The miniature railway charges 50p per head, which isn’t expensive at all, but when I spoke to the driver it soon became apparent that 100 per cent of the money made is sent to Evelina Children’s Hospital in London which I understand is part of St Thomas’.

Having two small children I was very heartened by this and the main reason for this email.

Apparently, the railway is named after the operator’s grandson, Riley, who occasionally spends time at Evelina and it was because of him the husband and wife approached The Lavender Line and asked if they could set up a miniature railway for this worthwhile charity.

It was agreed by The Lavender Line, constructed, and opened for passengers in 2011.

The driver of our train was a young man, probably in his late 30s who explained he volunteers his time because of the good course and the fact that he too has two small children and it brings home, the superb work the nurses, doctors and other members of staff undertake at Evelina.

Last year was their best year yet apparently raising £2,600 which is absolutely fantastic.

I feel the one handful of volunteers that operate this deserve much credit and I am pleased to be able to pass this information on to you.

John Pepper

Alexander Road, Uckfield