Wensleydale Railway has announced the appointment of Alan Hinkes OBE as a patron of their charitable trust. The Wensleydale Railway Association (Trust) Limited is the charitable arm of the Wensleydale Railway. The organisation, generally known as ‘The Trust’, was created in 2015 by the merger of the Wensleydale Railway Association (WRA) and the Wensleydale Railway Trust (WRT), the former being set up as a member organisation in 1990 to promote the reopening of the railway, which had not provided regular passenger services since 1954.

The Trust exists to provide education on the railway’s history and to advance and conserve the heritage of the railway for the public benefit. It supports the railway’s operation and provides funding support for specific projects such as track repairs and maintenance costs. In addition, it employs staff to run a National Lottery funded Heritage Education programme with local schools and the public as well as promoting community engagement with local people and groups up and down the line.

Alan Hinkes is an accomplished mountaineer, becoming the first Briton to climb all 14 of the world’s mountains over 8,000m in height. In addition to his mountaineering career, he’s an outdoor equipment technical consultant, author, photographer,  ameraman, motivational speaker, mountain guide and environmentalist. Alan grew up in Northallerton and continues to live in North Yorkshire.

He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the University of Sunderland in 1999, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of York in 2007. In 2005, Alan was awarded Yorkshire Man of the Year and made an honorary citizen of his hometown  Northallerton in the same year. He was awarded an OBE in the 2006 New Year’s Honours list for his achievements in mountaineering.

Richard Leathley, Trust Chairman at Wensleydale Railway said: “We are pleased to welcome Alan as a patron of the Trust. We are committed to encouraging the involvement of the wider community in Wensleydale and the surrounding area. Alan’s generous offer to become a patron will indicate the railways continued desire to provide a variety of opportunities for its members and visitors to enjoy whilst visiting the railway. We are now looking forward to Alan being involved in a number of fund-raising activities, open to all, during the course of the present season which we will be publicising in the not-too-distant future”.

Nick Keegan, Fundraising and Marketing Manager at Wensleydale Railway said: “Alan grew up in Northallerton, close to the Wensleydale Railway, and has great passion and enthusiasm not just for our railway but also railways in general. He’s a champion of all things Yorkshire, the environment, people, education and local communities.

Alan joins Steve Davies MBE as Trust patron.