The September sun was shining as supporters of the Ffestiniog Railway came together to celebrate the official unveiling of two plaques at the recently restored ‘Gweithdy’ building in Minffordd.
We were delighted to welcome Sir Peter Hendy and his wife Sue Pendle, who officially unveiled the plaques, which stated that ‘The Hendy & Pendle Trust Volunteers Award’ had been awarded to the ‘Ffestiniog Railway Society’ for their restoration of the ‘Gweithdy’ building.
Our General Manager, Paul Lewin, Executive Director of the Railway Heritage Trust, Andy Savage, Chairman of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy and Volunteer Project Manager, Alan Norton, spoke glowingly about the fantastic work of the society and its volunteers in restoring this historic building.
This ceremony also provided an opportunity to reflect on the substantial contributions of Eileen Clayton MBE (1944 – 2019).
Eileen was a hugely influential figure at the railway and a leading figure in volunteer support for the railway’s infrastructure. During her long involvement, she played a significant role in enhancing the appeal of the railway to a new generation of volunteers through initiatives such as ‘Kids Week’ and the construction of the Minffordd Hostel.
She was also heavily involved in numerous restoration projects including that of the ‘Gweithdy’. Eileen was at the forefront of plans to restore this historic building, initiating the fundraising appeal to put the plans into motion and playing a central figure in its renovation up until her passing. Its completion along with the subsequent recognition through this award is in many ways a fitting tribute to Eileen and her extensive contributions to our railway.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Eileen and everyone else who was involved in this restoration for their hard work and we are now looking forward to seeing this historic building play an important role in the railway’s future.
The building has served many purposes over the years, constructed as a place of worship; acting as a meeting place for ‘Aelwyd yr Urdd’ for many years and then as a workshop for the Snowdonia National Park Authority before being purchased by the Ffestiniog Railway as a workspace for volunteers.
In anticipation for its centenary celebrations next year, we are keen to discover more about the history of this multi-functional building. If you have any recollections or photos of the ‘Gweithdy’ building, please send them to email@example.com