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Awards and Loans

The Trust offers financial assistance to individuals or groups to carry through restoration or improvement projects to completion. The Trust also invites enquiries about sponsoring one or more Awards.

Frank Dubleton: 

Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of more than 60 years service to the Great Western Society and the Didcot Railway Centre.


Frank Dumbleton II Frank Dumbleton has been a volunteer the Great Western Society, the charity which operates the Didcot Railway Centre, for more than 60 years. He was not actually a founder member but was involved from the 1961 beginning, even if his involvement was initially limited by being away at boarding school.

Once free from boarding school he was elected to the GDS committee, and his home was the society's registered address until an office was established at Didcot in 1974. From the beginning he was to be found behind a camera, taking still and moving pictures to record people and events and of course railways, rolling stock and locomotives. Quite apart from their value in preserving the history of the Society and the Didcot Railway Centre, his pictures have contributed not only to the quality of the society's Great Western Echo which he edited in the 1960s and 70s, but have also contributed significantly to the image-led marketing strategy adopted in 2020 as well as the society's website and Facebook presence. He has also found time to serve as guide and museum steward at Didcot.

Surprising though it may seem, he managed to fit in a career with British Rail in their Western Region Publicity Department in London and Reading.











Ray Hooley: Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his rescue and custodianship of the world's oldest steam excavator.

Ray Hooley II


Steam Excavator Number 306 the world's oldest working excavator was built in 1911 in Lincoln by Ruston, Proctor and Co. After almost 20 years of work it and the chalk quarry in which it had been working were abandoned, and the quarry filled up with water, which, because of the minerals present, turned blue.

47 years later, after 3 years of planning it was recovered from the Blue Lagoon over the course of one weekend by a team led by Ray Hooley. His first sight of it had been the tip of the jib, the rest of the machine sitting in 25 feet of water, but he decided it was worth the £1 he paid the owners of the quarry, by then a recreational lake.

Once it was back in Lincoln, Ray negotiated an arrangement with Ruston-Bucyrus, its makers successors, that would get the navvy renovated and in steam again after work by their apprentices. and he arranged boiler renovation with Robeys of Lincoln. Number 306, once back in steaming order, was then loaned permanently to the Museum of Lincolnshire Life provided they kept it in good condition.

By 2011, after standing outdoors for 30 years, it wasn't in good condition at all what's more the Museum did not have the resources to do anything about the 40-ton machine. So Ray took it back and gave it to the Vintage Excavator Trust of Threlkeld, Cumbria, who had the energy and enthusiasm to apply for a Heritage Lottery Grant and carry out further major repairs to the total value of £122,000. Better still, the Trust has a quarry where their collection of 80 vintage cranes and excavators (of which no 306 is the oldest) can be put to work. 306 had not done any digging for the 30 years it was at the museum, but can be seen in action at the Vintage Excavator Trust's open days. Ray's relationship with this machine has lasted 45 years, and fully warrants his Lifetime Achievement Award.


Ernest Horsfall: Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of more than 60 years of service to light aviation.


Eric Horesefall II

Ernest Horsfall trained as a mechanical engineer and served during WW2 with REME. A trip in an RAF flying boat first inspired him to fly, but it wasn't until 1961, at the age of 43, that he took his first flying lesson. Since the 1960's he has become a respected figure in the world of light aircraft engineering andrenovation. In March 2021, just ahead of his 103rd birthday, he renewed his aircraft Inspectors' certificate for the 50th consecutive year.

He held a private pilot licence for 50 years and stopped flying only at age 92 when he could no longer get insurance cover. By then he had amassed some 3000 hrs flying time, equivalent to 100 years flying for the average General Aviation pilot.

It wasn't just the flying that interested Ernest but also the engineering and he realised that he wanted to own and build aeroplanes, especially wood-and-fabric ones. So in 1966 he bought his 1st aircraft. Since then he has owned nearly 60 aircraft and re-built 25; the practical knowledge thus gained established him as an expert on building and restoring classic wood-and-fabric aircraft and, for many years he has been the leading expert in the UK on constructing and repairing them. He is also acknowledged as an expert in Europe and Iceland and until the COVID lockdowns was still travelling to Iceland to oversee aircraft restorations. In 1971 he gained accreditation as one of the first licensed aircraft Engineering Inspectors for the Popular Flying Association (PFA) which later became the Light Aircraft Association (LAA).

After 50 years as a licensed Inspector he was determined to continue. Sadly, following a short spell in hospital his deteriorating physical health meant he could no longer continue and he resigned in Summer 2021. Ernest's expertise and achievements have been recognised by the LAA, by the Royal Aero Club and the Old and Bold Trophy in 2012 awarded annually to a person aged 65 or over who flies or who has only ceased flying in the previous year, and who has been conspicuously involved in aviation and sport aviation in particular, for their work, initiative, devotion or in other ways. More than 60 years of service to light aviation is quite an achievement. Ernest could not attend the presentation - very few 104 year-olds would relish the journey from Lancashire - but a presentation will be made to him in October in the comfort of his home.

Steve Slater, Chairman of the Light Aircraft Association received the certificate on his behalf.


Mike Lunch:  The President's Award in recognition of his achievement in bringing about the centenary celebrations of the last world land-speed record to be achieved at Brooklands Circuit.


On May 17th 1922 a 350hp Sunbeam driven by Kenelm Lee Guinness achieved a speed of 133.75 mph, the last world land-speed record to be achieved on a circuit.

On 17th May 2022 the car was back at Brooklands and driven by the present Sir Kenelm Lee Guinness, grandson of the record-breaker.  It was Mike Lunch's drive, enthusiasm and persuasiveness which ensured that the combined efforts of the car's owner, National Motor Museum, Brooklands Museum, Steam Dreams, London Bus Museum and the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq Register created a wonderful commemoration with a fine display of historic cars, and featuring a recreation of the well known F Gordon Crosby painting of the car on the railway straight with a steam hauled train on the banking above it. Final Collage

Pictured above:  Top left, Mike Lunch, winner of the President's Award 2022.  Top right, the famous painting by F. Gordon Crosby showing K. Lee Guinness driving the 350hp Sunbeam to a new world record speed of 133mph, and the recreation of the picture on the 17th May 2022.  Bottom left, three hsitoric Sunbeam racing cars lined up at Brooklands in 1922.  left to right these are 4.9 litre Indianapolis racer, 3 litre straight eight Grand Prix racer that won 1922 IoM TT race, 350 HP Sunbeam.  These same three cars were reunited for the first time at Brooklands 100 years later for a recreation shot in front of the clubhouse.  Bottom right, some of the 1300 spectators who attended the centenary celebration event at Brooklands this year.


The National Transport Trust makes loans to groups, associations and individuals at advantageous rates for the restoration of artefacts - whether mobile or part of the infrastructure.  Applications must be supported by a simple business plan which demonstrates the financial viability of the project. A sample business plan is available on request from the Treasurer.


The Trust does occasionaly make Awards for schemes which further the preservation movement. Again if you wish further information please contact the Treasurer.


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