MODEL railway fans have celebrated their club’s survival with a new home in Aldingbourne.
The Bognor Regis Model Railway Club members officially opened their new workspace and storeroom.
The ceremony last Saturday was performed by Arun District Council cabinet member for environmental services Cllr Terence Chapman and Dennis Leonard, a trustee of the Aldingbourne Community Sports Centre.
The club’s new building, a former barn, is located at the Olivers Meadow centre.
Club chairman Adrian Taylor said: “It’s absolutely important for us to have this building. It gives us three or four times what we had before.
“It has clean facilities in a safe environment for our children’s club to enable them to enjoy their hobby. That section is our future and that’s what their parents want to see when they come along to us.
“Our old building had reached the end of its life. The club would probably have died if we had stayed there or, at best, bumbled along.”
The new building will be a base for the club’s 15-strong junior section to learn about building layouts with carpentry and electrical skills alongside the 45 adult members.
The club was formed in 1950. It was reformed in 1975 and carried on meeting around Bognor before a move to Barnham Garden Centre. This was followed by the switch to Aldingbourne in 1994 to go into an unused building. Mr Leonard performed the opening ceremony then.
The structure’s condition deteriorated over the years. The club took the chance, with the centre’s help, to move into a former barn from the late 1960s which had been a recycled newspaper store. It took a total of £25,000 from the club and the Sita Trust to fund the improvements.
Cllr Chapman paid tribute to the club. He said: “What is wonderful to me about the club is the inclusion of young people in its full aspects.
“To see their enthusiasm sometimes driving on some of the older members is absolutely first rate.”
Mr Leonard said: “I really felt the club was taking on something it would not complete. I congratulate you all for an awful lot of hard work.”
The new building also includes a referee’s changing room for football games at the centre. The club has also nearly finished work on the former Barnham signal box.