On Friday, 7th August at midday, the launch of the Bluebell Railway's 50th Anniversary Appeal takes place at Horsted Keynes Station, West Sussex, RH17 7BB.
Following the Ceremony, Dame Vera Lynn DBE will release 50 balloons to celebrate the first 50 years of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society which was formed in 1959, a year before the Railway opened to the public.
The target for the Appeal is some £3.5 million. The money being primarily for the Railway to complete the extension to East Grinstead but funds are also needed to repair and restore the Railway's unique collection of locomotives and rolling stock.
Other guests who will be attending this event include TV presenter Nicholas Owen, Cllr Margaret Baker, Mayor of Haywards Heath, Cllr Amanda Dean Mayor of Lewes, and the former General Manager of British Rail Southern, Gordon Pettit OBE. Also attending will be one of the Vice-patrons of the appeal Baroness Cumberlege CBE.
The Appeal is also supported by celebrities such as Michael Palin CBE, Joe Brown MBE and David Suchet OBE. The Mayor of East Grinstead, Cllr Lee Marmara is also a Vice-patron
A Bluebell spokesperson said "It is hoped people will support this Appeal. The Bluebell is important not only for its position as the first and one of the most prestigious Heritage Railways, but for the benefits it brings to Sussex and in particular East Grinstead in terms of tourism".
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