A Lancashire model railway group has received the perfect Christmas present in the shape of a lottery grant.
East Lancashire Model Railway Organisation, based at Mill Hill Community Centre in Blackburn, has received £8,600 in lottery money. The group said that the funding will be used to promote exhibitions and rent space allowing more people from around the region to come to the site and see all the layouts members have created, the Lancashire Telegraph reports.
Founded in Roe Lee the group has become an integral part of the model railway community in Blackburn and East Lancashire. The funding has been hailed as "excellent news" for the tiny club by group chairman Eric Coupe. The group only has a membership of five people but with the additional funding it could look to expand in the future.
In the past, hundreds of people have visited the exhibitions the group has hosted so there is potential for growing organically. After securing a semi-permanent base in Blackburn, the group is now looking for new members that can help current members embark on more ambitious projects in the coming years.
Speaking to the new provider, Mr Coupe said: "The funding is for exhibitions, which we have been putting on in various venues since 2007. Now we're using Mill Hill Community Centre so this will go towards the rent there.
"We started out in people's homes, so to have come this far and be given this money is a huge deal for us. We put the bid together in June and we've known for the last seven weeks that we were going to get something so it's very exciting."
East Lancashire has a very proud railway history with steam trains being an integral part of the region's cotton industry in the 1700s. They would be tasked with ferrying goods made in the mills to customers across the region and even further afield.