Earlier this year, Visit Somerset and Great Western Railway organised The Somerset Explorer Charity Rail Tour in memory of Bob Smart, the former Chair of Visit Somerset. Bob was cared for by Weston Hospicecare In-Patient Unit in the last few days of his life, and his family and friends wanted to hold an event to commemorate him, and all the time he gave to the people of Somerset.

And what an event it was.

On May 13th, GWR ran the HST Inter-City 125 from London to Somerset, in conjunction with Visit Somerset, and assistance from Buses of Somerset, and West Somerset Railway. There were several itineraries for the passengers to enjoy on the day, including a bus tour around various Somerset landmarks. The train itself had over 200 passengers on board, including the designer of the HST nosecone, Sir Kenneth Grange.

The whole event raised a massive £7,400 for Weston Hospicecare. This money enables us to continue offering the kind of care we were able to give to Bob in his last few days, as well as a range of other services, including community nursing support, and Day Hospice services. The kindness, generosity, and time given by GWR, Visit Somerset, Buses of Somerset and the West Somerset Railway, as well as Bob’s family and friends, is something we are very grateful for. Guy Watts, Fares Implementation Manager for GWR, said:

“It was an honour to be asked to help plan an event that in turn has helped recognise the work that Bob did for the county. I am also overjoyed by the response from Weston Hospicecare and their involvement was second to none. The main aim for the day was to create something special in memory of Bob Smart, former Visit Somerset chairman, and with his relatives on the train too we pulled out all the stops. By all accounts they had a great day, and his sister asked if she could be invited to the next outing. Whilst not forgetting the hard work and enthusiasm from John Turner and his team at Visit Somerset for a day that will be treasured by all.”

Alison Sopp, Director of Fundraising and Communications for Weston Hospicecare, added: “We’re really delighted to receive this support from GWR and Visit Somerset, and we’d like to thank them for putting on such a wonderful event. The money raised will go on to make a great difference to the patients and families we support at Weston Hospicecare.”

We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our fantastic supporters; Weston Hospicecare costs approximately £3.22 million to run each year, and only 22% of that money comes from the NHS. The rest is raised from the local community who support us by holding fundraising events, playing our lottery, or shopping in our network of shops, and by fantastic partnerships with local businesses who support us with events such as The Somerset Explorer Charity Rail Tour. If you’d like more information on our fundraising events, or on the care that Weston Hospicecare can provide, please visit the relevant links on our website, or call us on 01934 423900

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