1 August is the official date that the community took over the running of Babbacombe Cliff Railway ten years ago. So, it’s a happy anniversary to all of us and thanks to everyone who has travelled with us, supported us or taken part in some of our fun and frolics over that time.
What a great year we’re having at Babbacombe Cliff Railway.
Hot on the heels of the ever so lovely John Ayres Ukulele Proms, we’ve just had our 1000th follower join us on Instagram and now have over 5000 followers across our social media platforms. Nice.
Celebrating ten years of community ownership and one million passengers transported over the past ten years, Babbacombe Cliff Railway is definitely on the up.
You get the idea…..
Saturday 8 June saw Oddicombe and the surrounding area filled with the sound of hundreds of ukuleles as the 2019 John Ayres Ukulele Proms took place.
Seventeen bands took to the stage in the Music Marquee on Oddicombe, another six played at the Cliff Railway Cafe and Babbacombe Cliff Railway Top Station was home to a further group on a day filled with music and merriment.
Starting at 10am the marquee was packed from start to the finish at around 7pm.
Nicky Allen, one of the organisers, said “We had a really great day. Fortunately, after the terrible weather of Friday, we started Saturday in glorious sunshine and although we had a few showers that really didn’t matter.” She added “It was absolutely lovely to see our Music Marquee so full of smiling, happy people. We were treated to some great music, lots of fun banter and just a terrifically jolly atmosphere.”
This event is now in its sixth year. It started life as the Babbacombe Ukulele Festival but changed its name in 2018 to The John Ayres Ukulele Proms in honour of John who started the event but sadly passed away last year. There were plenty of Devon bands plus some from Wellington, Worthing, Reading, Lyme Regis and Lostwithiel.
Nicky said “Team Babbacombe Cliff Railway is delighted to have been able to continue this event which brings together all sorts of different ukulele groups. Not only is it a day of music, it’s a day of catching up with friends made in previous years. We are inundated with groups and performers wanting to take part which is testament to the success of the event.”
All part of a year of of celebration for Babbacombe Cliff Railway as they mark the tenth anniversary of community ownership of the railway plus their recent announcement that, since the community took over, they have in fact transported over one million passengers.
Open every day from 9am to 5pm, next up in the special event calendar is the very popular “Last Team Standing” on Saturday 14 September.
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?