Monday, 23 September 2019

Station plaque to honour community campaigner

Station plaque to honour community campaigner

A PLAQUE was unveiled at Goring station to honour a campaigner who helped deliver three passenger lifts on the platforms.

About 50 villagers attended the last week’s ceremony to recognise Norman Radley’s achievements

They were joined by Toby Elliott of Network Rail and Jane Jones of Great Western Railway, parish council chairman Kevin Bulmer, John Boler, of the Goring mobility issues group, and Paul Bradstock, who chairs the Goring Gap News Association.

Mr Radley, who is 98 and lives in a care home, was unable to attend due to his frailty. He was represented by his son Geoff, 65, from Lincolnshire, and his wife Donna.

Councillor Bulmer unveiled the plaque above platform 4, which reads: “Goring & Streatley celebrating 50 years of service to the community by Norman Radley. His ambition to have passenger lifts at this station was realised in 2016.”

The lifts were installed by Network Rail during work on a new
£3.5 million footbridge at the station following a campaign by the mobility issues group.

When the company announced the bridge project in 2012, it said it would not install lifts due to the cost.

Mr Radley, who was on the committee of the mobility issues group, came up with the idea of a petition, which was signed by more than 1,000 people and was presented to Parliament by Henley MP John Howell.

Mr Boler said: “Norman gets the credit for recognising the opportunity to help disabled people and people who are losing mobility because of age. He really was the catalyst — he thought of the idea to lobby for having lifts installed.”

He said he was delighted at the plaque, adding: “It gives the recognition in the right place. I hope people will get used to calling it the ‘Radley Bridge’.”

The printed programme for the ceremony listed Mr Radley’s work for the community over five decades.

Cllr Bulmer said: “There are no other people who can boast of such an impressive list of achievements over that timescale.”

Mr Bradstock said Mr Radley’s contribution had been “incredible”.

Mr Radley Jnr told the guests: “It’s a great honour and pleasure to be here today to represent my father Norman Radley. Sadly, he cannot be with us in person. He is now nearly 99 and is very frail.

“He has been a resident of the Old Vicarage nursing home in Moulsford for the past three years, where he is being well cared for, and I am pleased to see that the staff of the home are represented here today. Throughout this time, neighbours and friends have continued to visit my father. Thank you very much for your continued support. It means a lot to him. 

“This plaque commemorates the wide range of contributions my father made to the community.”

Mr Radley moved to Goring in 1957 and quickly got involved in a range of activities. 

His son, who was three at the time, said: “As a child, I fondly remember days spent helping him mix and spread concrete for the sailing club boat park — rather more fun than actually sailing I thought — and exploring under the Morrell Room stage while he was helping to build or take down sets for the Goring Gap Players.

“It was, however, after I left home that the breadth and depth of his involvement with the life of this village really got going.

“Once he retired from the civil service, after years of commuting from this station, I think it is no exaggeration to say that he embarked on a second career, one of community service. Whenever I phoned home, my father always seemed to be busy with at least one village-related activity but there are items on that list that came as news to me and the rest of the family, so many thanks to Colin Ratcliff, John Farrow, Trevor Coombs, Alan Strong, Alan Jones and Jean Betteridge for providing this information. 

“We will keep it as a valuable record of his achievements.

“Norman was blessed with good health until well into his nineties and continued to be actively involved in the life of the village for as long as he could.

“The mobility issues group was one of the organisations that he became involved with as he got older and I know he was a strong supporter of its work. 

“As well as serving on the committee, he gained practical experience of mobility issues from the obstacles he experienced piloting his mobility scooter around the village. 

“On behalf of my father, and the rest of my family, I would like to thank the mobility user group, and particularly John Boler, Dr Rhys Hamilton and Brooke Ward, for all the hard work they did to turn my father’s suggestion of incorporating lifts into the new bridge into reality.

“I know they are greatly appreciated by many station users. I hope the bridge and the lifts provide good service for many, many years to come. ”

He also thanked Mr Howell for his “valuable support” for the lifts campaign, Network Rail and Great Western Railway and the mobility user group’s committee for coming up with the idea of the plaque.

Mr Radley added: “My father has been very deeply touched by the honour you have all shown him.”

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