As the team at Babbacombe Cliff Railway celebrate ten years of community ownership a rather spectacular figure has been reached. One million people have now travelled on the railway since it became community owned back in 2009.
Nicky Allen, who handles the marketing of the railway, said “We are bowled over to have reached such a figure. The truth is that, since being owned by the community, the railway has gone from strength to strength. To realise that one million people have travelled with us since 2009 is quite something. As well as lots of hard work and a professional attitude I have no doubt that one of the main reasons for this success is passion. The railway is obviously a much-needed means of transport up and down the cliffs but it is so much more than that. We’re not just running a railway here, we’re running a part of the community. The warmth felt by the public for the railway, its progress and the events that we host on Oddicombe Beach is extraordinary. We’ve always made a big effort to keep people informed about what we’re up to and I believe that genuine communication and interaction is appreciated.”
Babbacombe Cliff Railway has a team of paid staff running the railway on a day to day basis and a great bunch of volunteers who help out and run the fabulous Visitor Centre down on Oddicombe Beach. The team has also put on lots of events. To name a few, the last ten years has seen the beach host six Ukulele Festivals, five Murder Mysteries, this year will see the fourth “Last Team Standing” competition take place and there have been two Cliff Railway Days, parties, Christmas celebrations, Halloween horrors and Easter eggsgtravaganzas along with a host of other fun, family-friendly goings-on.
Nicky added “Team Babbacombe Cliff Railway has been a force to be reckoned with over the past decade. In 2009 the railway and Oddicombe were a part-time destination, now they are full-time. Open pretty much all year round we, and Babbacombe, are very firmly on the map.”
As many people are aware, one of the main driving forces of Babbacombe Cliff Railway over the past ten years, was John Ayres. He was responsible for so much of the development and he brought many new people and ideas to the business. John’s passion was second to none and he made sure that he surrounded himself with people that he believed would bring skills and, most importantly, their passion, to help him ensure that Babbacombe Cliff Railway grew and thrived and was always a part of the local community for locals and holidaymakers alike to be able to use. Among many other projects, along with his wife Judy, John founded the Babbacombe Ukulele Festival. Very sadly, John passed away last year and the event was re-named as The John Ayres Ukulele Proms, in his honour. This year’s event will be held on Saturday 8 June when, once again, hundreds of ukuleles will entertain the crowds on the beach. Live music starts at 10am and will continue throughout the day. The Music Marquee on Oddicombe promenade will have plenty of seats and the event is entirely free to enjoy although normal cliff railway ticket prices will apply. Should be a fun way to celebrate those one million passengers and who knows how many more people than the one million will have visited by the end of the day?