GALLERY: Fenland couple to open their doors for Thomas the Tank Engine and model rail enthusiasts

MODEL rail enthusiasts are in for a treat next month when a Fenland couple - who live where 13 Thomas the Tank Engine books were written - open their doors to the public.

Mark and Flo Thatcher, of The Old Vicarage, Church Road, in Emneth, are holding the open weekend on June 11 and 12. The event will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Reverend Wilbert Awdry - who penned around half of the popular series in the study of their home.

However, Mr Thatcher’s passion for model trains goes far and beyond Thomas the Tank books as he’s an avid collector and builder of model train sets.

Mr Thatcher, a Wisbech Model Railway Club member said: “It’s total luck that we ended up in this house and I didn’t get into model trains until around 1992.

“The passion has grown from there. This keeps me young and I suppose I’m like a big kid. I’m not an anorak who sits and trainspots though and people can form their opinions about it all.

“However, when people usually see a model railway in action their opinion is changed. I’m sure Rev. Awdry would be looking down with a wry smile on his face at it all.”

Rev. Awdry’s daughter Veronica will unveil a plaque at noon on Saturday to declare that he lived at the house between 1953-1965.

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Attractions at the event will include a phenomenal outdoor G-scale model train set which contains battery powered and live steam train engines.

Displays, photography, guided tours and a raffle are just some of the other interests that will be on offer.

Mrs Thatcher said: “It’s Mark’s passion, I understand it and get it, but not at his level.

“However, the fame and popularity of Thomas is incredible and it appeals to all generations. Sometimes I pinch myself when I remember he lived here.”

• Entry costs �1 for adults and 50p for children. The house is open from 11am-5.22pm (the time Rev. Awdry was born) on both days. A fete at nearby St Edmunds Church will also take place on Saturday June 11 from 1.30-4pm.

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