This is a significant year for both the ULS and the Urie family. 499 was first released to the LSWR for traffic on May 6th 1920, hence our advertised open day on May 2nd this year. We had a lot planned for the day inc the opening of a rose garden in memory of Robert Urie – roses were his second passion. Sadly the lockdown and social distancing will now prevent this, and rightly so….people’s health and the safety of all who work in the NHS are paramount, anything we want to do can wait.
BUT when things do start to return to normal (I suspect by then it will be a different kind of normal), the ULS will be back with a bang! No plans at the moment, it’s too early for that, but hopefully we can do something later in the year; let’s not forget, 506’s centenary is October 2020. Believe me the covid19 pandemic has done nothing other than galvanise the engineering team to push on with renewed vigour when we finally head back to Ropley.
Over the last few weeks, whilst I may have been busy at work, I have had time to reflect and this whole episode has made me consider our own mortality more so than I ever have in the past. No-one is getting any younger but we CAN do it, indeed we MUST do it, and when we do complete 499 it will be something we can ALL be proud of.
The ULS has a commitment to the membership and both the committee and the engineering team are determined to deliver on that commitment as fast as we possibly can. Our projects may be on hold for now, but no bloody virus is going to stop us forever….make no mistake, we will be back! 2022 was the target before lockdown, is there really any reason why we can’t still go for it…….exactly, no reason at all!!
Until the days become free again a work begins once more stay in touch via our social media channels Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Share your memories and photos of our engines and where possible continue to support the society by becoming a member.
Take care all and please, stay safe.
Mark Pedley, Chairman of the Urie Locomotive Society