BMVCRP Press Release: Book Launch

The Fallen of the First World War from the towns and villages along the Blackmore Vale Line 

Members of Station groups from the Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership (BVCRP) met at Sherborne Castle Garden Centre to launch the memorial book produced by Caroline Rowlands on behalf of the fallen in the First World War.

This will be the first event that South Western Railways Area Community Rail Manager has attended since the signing of the joint CRP agreement. Every station group will be signing in to the Community Rail Partnership because they believe this will enhance and improve the stations and the travel experience of the local community. Already people have been very appreciative of the attractive plants and better more comfortable facilities that have resulted from the activities of the station groups.

The morning  started with an introduction from Chair Gail Coleshill who outlined the aims of the BVCRP and then introduced Andrew Harrowell, the area Comunity Rail Partnership manager, Caroline Rowland, the author of the book and Norman Crabb, photographer. The morning finished with the poem ’The going down of the sun’ read by John Whitfield ,CRP deputy chair and the ‘last post’  played on a bugle from the First World War by FOCS member John Coleshill.

A photo of the Book Launch at Sherborne Castle Gardens.

Caroline explained how she came to write the book when during her research she discovered that many of the soldiers from the local area did not have a known memorial in this country. Following the tradition of railway companies after the First World War who commissioned memorials to lost railway workers, like the one at Waterloo Station, London, members of the BVCRP decided it would be fitting to commission memorial plaques at each of the stations to honour the memory of fallen railway workers for this part of the line. Nearly 2,000 individuals for the 12 towns and villages along the line have been found and identified in the book.

Caroline said We owe a great debt to work of Fabian Ware and The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, without whom we could not have found and identified our soldiers and Nurse Dorothy Stacey for the book. Had those who worked with Fabian Ware on the battlefields, identifying bodies, marking graves and pegging out cemeteries, 100 years later we would not know who any of the fallen were. Today there are 1,741,360 individuals who died in the First and Second World wars and later conflicts who have a grave or commemoration somewhere in the world.”

Andrew Harrowell said a few words about how the BVCRP has been set up to promote the area to prospective rail passengers, work with station groups to enhance and improve station facilities, work to secure stakeholders and funding partners such as local business and local authorities and produce a line action plan and a line guide. He was delighted to be invited to Sherborne and said

“It was great to help launch the book at Sherborne along with the Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership. It’s a poignant book that recognises the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in service for their country more than a hundred years ago. The fact that the information for the book has been p ut together by the local communities involved makes it all the more special. We are delighted to have been able to provide the funding to support the CRP for the publication of this tribute.”

 Books are available at Templecombe Station, Milborne Port Newsagents, Chapterhouse Books, Trendle Street Sherborne, Gillingham Museum and Yeovil Junction Station.

If you would like to buy a copy of this book for £16.00 please contact:

  • Chair of FOCS Tony Reese on 07967947335
  • Secretary of FOCS Gail Coleshill on 01460 75341

FOCS News Release April 10th 2019

Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership signing at Crewkerne Station

Chair of the Friends of Crewkerne Station (FOCS) Tony Reese was pleased to welcome new Community Rail Partnership Manager (CRP) Manager Andrew Harrowell, local partnership officer Caroline Rowlands and AcoRP (Association of Community Rail Partnerships) representative Daniel Wright to the station on a Volunteers working day to sign the new CRP agreement. The group were able to see what has been achieved by FOCS and were able to discuss how South Western Railways (SWR) can support their ambitions for the station.

They were met at the station by the Friends of Crewkerne Station who were keen to show what had been achieved. The Friends have worked in partnership with South Western Railway and local businesses to set up cattle trough planters on the platform with insect friendly and picturesque plants. They also work with the staff at the station to report any damage and needed improvements and have been able to procure both an inside seat and an added outside seat with canopy for the benefit of the travelling public.

Chair of BVCRP and member of FOCS Gail Coleshill said:

“This is an exciting time for us. We have signed the Community Rail Partnership agreement this week and look forward to working with South Western Railway to promote travel from and between all of our stations.”

Photo shows Tony Reese, Gail Coleshill, Andrew Harrowell, and Caroline Rowlands in @Sues cafe

CRP Manager Andrew Harrowell, who has responsibility for all the station adoption groups in South Western Railway said:

“Station adoption can help provide links between South Western Railway and the local community. It has been really interesting to meet the well established Friends group and I thank them for all their efforts with us. I’m delighted they have renewed their agreement with us and look forward to working further together in the future.”

“We are keen to increase the number of rail community partnerships across our network. If anyone is inspired by BVCRP’s work and wants to set-up their own partnership with SWR, then they should contact me at

One of South Western Railway’s Franchise winning strategies was to encourage existing station adoption groups and develop more Community Rail Partnerships in their network.

Anyone interested in joining the Friends of Crewkerne Station can come along to the meeting at the Globe Misterton on March 27th at 7.30pm. Or you can visit the website, fill in a form in the waiting room, or contact Chairman Tony Reese on 07967947335 or

Contact Gail Coleshill, Secretary, Friends of Crewkerne Station 07811 657798