A former engineer who has been volunteering at York’s National Railway Museum (NRM) for almost 40 years has been awarded the British Empire Medal.
Dave Thomas, who lives in Bolton Percy near York, was recognised in the New Year’s Honours list for his years of service at the museum, stretching all the way back to 1977.
During his time at NRM, the 77 year old has been particularly influential in improving access to information for visitors and is now overseeing the recruitment of new volunteers. More than 300 people currently give up over 36,000 hours of their own time each year to support the upkeep of Britain’s national rail collection.
Dave was told he had been nominated for the honour in November last year. In March, he will receive the award before attending a Royal garden party at Buckingham Palace in May.
Says Dave, ‘To me it’s a great honour. I’m totally flattered by it. I was really quite surprised and at the same time I regard it as being a symbol of recognition for all the volunteering that goes on here.’ A chartered engineer, Dave comes from a family of railwaymen, dating back to 1889.
‘It’s a lifelong thing,’ says Dave. ‘I was born into a second-generation railway family. I grew up in the mucky end of railways. My father was a driver here
at York and his was father was also, so they had a York footplateman’s history.’