The Tenterden Lions Club has donated £1,000 to the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s Heritage Buildings Fund to help it complete vital repairs to the town’s iconic station building and signal box. 

The £1K donation was pledged by the Tenterden Lions Club at the end of last year, after members of their grants committee visited the railway to see the extent of problems facing the restoration team. This has now been transferred to the Fund as the repairs programme moves into the final stages of work on the station building and starts on the signal box.  

Situated by the level crossing at Tenterden Town Station, the former Chilham signal box is one of the town’s most photographed landmarks. Built in 1895, it was rescued and re-erected at Tenterden in 1973 in preparation for the reopening of the railway.  

Like the station building, the 129-year-old signal box has fallen victim to the ravages of both time and weather with significant rot being found under the painted weatherboarding. 

President of the Tenterden Lions, Mike Caridia, said: ”As a club that is a long-serving part of the community, we recognise the importance of local historic landmarks and institutions. The Kent & East Sussex Railway is a significant contributor to the town’s image and keeping it running is key to attracting visitors to Tenterden which is why we are delighted to support the railway with a contribution towards the restoration of the signal box and the station. 

K&ESR Chairman Simon Marsh - who as a young volunteer helped to dismantle, remove and later restore the signal box and then operate it as a signalmansaid 

“We are extremely grateful to the Tenterden Lions for this donation to our Heritage Buildings Fund, which will help us to complete the important structural and decorative work on the station building and signal box, so that they are both in tip top condition for our 50th Anniversary Gala in June.” 

Over and above day-to-day operation, as a registered educational charity the K&ESR relies on external grants and donations to help it undertake the costly work of restoring important heritage rolling stock and structural assets. Anyone who would like to support this work can visit the ‘Support Us’ page on the website for details of current appeals. These include a 50th Anniversary Appeal to bring back into service the railway’s only wholly owned tank locomotive, Pannier Locomotive 1638.