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After a long and fulfilling career with the Coal Board, Enrych East Midlands member Micky continued his passion for steam engines and engineering by volunteering at the Great Central Railway.
Micky now has Parkinson’s which has affected many aspects of his life; friendships and meaningful social connections have become difficult to maintain.
Enrych volunteer, Dr McNeil, also shares Micky’s passion and has been scribing memoirs of his days working on steam engines for the Coal Board and reflect and record some local industrial history.
On completion, Micky and Dr McNeil hope to publish these fascinating accounts in a local industrial heritage magazine for enthusiasts and future generations to enjoy.
Read some of their work below…
The Memoirs of Micky
Scribed by Enrych Volunteer : Dr D McNeil
I met Micky through his contacts with the Enrych charity, who told me that he wanted to write his memoirs of his days working on steam engines for the Coal Board and reflect and record some local industrial history.
The coal supply to Leicester originally came, it seems, from the South Derbyshire coalfield, which extends into north-west Leicestershire. The direct route has to cross an extinct volcano, now known as the Charnwood Forest. The supply of coal would have crossed the Forest by horse-drawn cart and by pack-horse, but this method became too limiting in the upheaval we now call the industrial revolution. To make its wheels turn it needed a coal supply far greater than that the traditional method.
Canals come to the rescue. A canal barge could transport a large quantity of coal at minimal cost, using only one horse nd two men (one to look after the horse and one to steer the barge). The sad thing was the canals connected Leicester to the Nottinghamshire coal fields, not the north-west Leicestershire one. The Ashby Canal, opened in 1794, did serve the southern part of the coalfield, but its connections to Leicester were very long and tenuous. To build a direct canal though the Forest was financially impossible. So one was built along the northern edge of the Forest, from Thringstone to Nanpantan. Instead of a flight of locks leading to the canal quay in Loughborough, there was an early plate-way or railway of sorts. This was opened in 1794. However, the reservoir at the top level, the Blackbrook, on one wet and stormy day in February 1799 bursts its (rather pathetic) dam and the local town of Shepshed was flooded. The Charnwood Forest Canal was never the same again, and was finally closed in 1846.
George Stephenson helped design and build the Leicester to Swannington railway. This line was opened on 17th July 1832 and ran from the coal-fields of Swannington (near Whitwick) to West Bridge in Leicester where it connected to the Soar Navigation. It was remarkable for two things: firstly, the Glenfield tunnel and secondly the invention of the steam whistle. It is interesting to see the extension of coal mines into Leicestershire after this line opened.
Micky joined the Coal Board as an apprentice in 1956. His ambition was to work on steam engines, but these were being phased out. However, his particular favourite, a J94 0-6-0T (for experts), could handle much larger loads than the new diesels then available. He was able to help collect spares from various depots to keep the J94’s running, thereby actually saving man-power as two diesels were required to pull a train that one J94 could manage. In time, however, as bigger diesels and larger wagons became available, time was up for the J94’s.
Micky then became involved with the preserved Great Central Railway at Loughborough. One of his first jobs was to rebuild the boiler of one of the larger types stationed at Loughborough.
East Midlands Spring Newsletter
Please enjoy the latest news from Enrych East Midlands.
Find out who has joined the team, what our volunteers are doing, and how Enrych has changed people’s lives.
And download our diary of social events for 2017 by clicking on the links below
If you have enjoyed our Enrycher videos on YouTube then you may remember Vince (Enrych Member) and Pete (Enrych Volunteer. As our video shows, they both got a lot out of their time together.
We are so sorry to hear that Vince passed away on 1 January 2017 and we send our condolences to Vince’s family. We offer this video as a tribute to a brave and remarkable man, who showed such humour and resilience while facing serious illness.
Enrych at 30 – a look back at the year
What an amazing year it has been for Enrych
Click here to see our newsletter featuring a look back at a year of events and celebrations to mark our 30th birthday. Thank you all for a truly memorable year. Look out for the video!
Christmas Greetings from all of us at Enrych
May we wish all our Enrychers, clients, members and friends of Enrych a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thank you for your hard work and support throughout the year.
Opening hours over the festive period:
* Honiley office will be closed on 26 Dec, 27 Dec and 2 Jan – open all other days from 9 – 5pm
* Coalville office will be closed between 26 Dec and 2 Jan, except for Thursday 29th Dec from 9 – 4pm
* For other branch opening times – please refer to your branch co-ordinator
Artwork created by Enrych clients in our Art Group at The Marlene Reid Centre, Coalville, Leicestershire
Enrychers in Pictures – Colin in East Midlands
We asked our teams around the country to nominate people in Enrych who had made a real difference to other people’s lives. ‘Enrycher’ Awards were presented at our national Enrych Day.
This month we feature Colin Edis, who has been Branch Manager in East Midlands for many years, and recently moved into a developement role for Enrych.
He was nominated by his entire office team in Coalville who said they were nominating him “Because he is extraordinary and always goes the extra mile (or in Colin’s case a marathon).
Colin had the foresight to develop sustainable services which are securing the future of the organisation.
Everyone Colin comes into contact with is Enryched by his positive, can-do attitude and his willingness to treat everyone in a way which enables them to fulfil their true and full potential.
Colin is an excellent Ambassador for people with disabilities and embodies all Enrych stands for.
Pictured here is Colin receiving his award from Enrych National Trustee, Jenny Searle
New Enrycher videos launched
A new series of videos capturing life changing stories of disabled people accessing Enrych’s services have been launched by Enrych East Midlands.
Eight short films featuring Enrych member/volunteer partnerships and Enrych PA/client relationships were shown at the branch’s 30th Anniversary celebration events on 23rd September in Coalville, Leicestershire.
One film tells the story of Emily (client) who as a result of having the support of her Personal Assistant, Katrina, had increased in confidence to the extent that she secured her first job at Sainsbury’s… which (as you’ll see in the video) called for a celebratory flapjack.
Another video features Colin (member) and Matt (Volunteer) who were brought together by their love of football and Colin’s dream of writing his own book on railway history. Matt wears many Enrych hats and visits Colin once or twice a month.
There is also a look at the Enrych Community Allotment Group which is on the look out for more volunteers to help even more disabled people benefit from the therapeutic benefits of community gardening.
East Midlands celebrates 30th Anniversary
Enrych East Midlands marked Enrych’s 30th birthday with a day of celebrations at the Marlene Reid Centre in Coalville, Leicestershire on 23rd September.
Over 100 Enrych members, carers, volunteers and charity staff gathered as Councillor Richard Blunt, Leader of North West Leicestershire District Council, congratulated Enrych on thirty years of empowering disabled people to enjoy more active and independent lives through the charity’s volunteer partnerships scheme, social events programme and rapidly expanding Personal Assistants service.
Councillor Blunt said: “I’m very honoured to have been invited here today. My family’s connections with the charity meant that from a young age I was aware that no one with a disability should be made to feel invisible. Enrych plays an important role in building confidence and helping people turn things around in their lives. I would encourage us all to seize those turnaround moments as Enrych does every day.”
The audience, which included commissioners and social workers in adult social care, heard from PhD students David Clayton and Emma Brogila at Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare, Sheffield University, who demonstrated Miro, a companion robot, and Pacifica, a wellbeing smartphone app – new innovations to alleviate loneliness and promote good mental wellbeing.
Enrych was founded in 1986 by Leonard Cheshire and Sue Ryder to support people with disabilities to enjoy leisure and learning opportunities of their choice and, by doing so, reduce social isolation and increase their confidence.
Alongside the volunteer partnerships, Enrych East Midlands also successfully runs a personal assistant service, Enrych Assist, for individuals who want to live more independently with regular support for day-to-day tasks such as household jobs, going to appointments or attending a college course.
Earlier this year, the branch expanded its PA service to offer personal assistants for people with mental health support needs in Leicestershire and Derbyshire. Self referrals and referrals from health and social care professionals are welcome.
For more information about Enrych and to access services visit www.leicestershire-derbyshire.enrych.org.uk or call 01530 832926.
View more event pictures on our Facebook page.