More than twelve months ago Tyne Valley Community Rail Partnership started to work on a project to commemorate the evacuation of children from Tyneside to the Haltwhistle area by train in 1940.  With the help of project partners, Wallsend Local History Society, we traced numerous former evacuees who were able to relate their memories of the evacuation and their lives with new families. The events involving former evacuees and local school children planned for summer 2020 had to be put on hold.

This was extremely disappointing for all involved.  So many interesting memories had been related by the former evacuees, stories which deserved to be heard by future generations.  Other ways to build on the work already done were considered, including a documentary film involving some of the former evacuees and young people from Haltwhistle Film Project.  And so, the Wartime Escape film project emerged.  Fiona Forsythe explained “this project will bring communities together, young people from Haltwhistle will develop skills whilst interviewing the former evacuees still living in the Tyneside area.”

As many of the usual funding sources were prioritising Covid related projects, the CRP looked elsewhere and found there was a North of Tyne Combined Authority (NCTA) supported crowdfunding opportunity.

Crowdfunding has been a new concept for the CRP, who were pleased to have been able to take advantage of the NCTA initiative. However, this funding mechanism is not without risk; as an all-or-nothing scheme, if the target is not reached then no funding will be in place. Until 29 January, the CRP will need to engage with as much support as possible to reach their goal.  Anne Ridley, TVCRP Director, said “with a minimum pledge of £2, it is hoped that lots of people will support us so we can achieve our target of £7000”.

If you would like to learn more about Wartime Escape by Train or support the project by making a pledge, you can visit https://www.spacehive.com/wartime-escape-by-train