SDR Enthusiasts' Site


Buckfastleigh 31st October 2008

Dick Wood on the footplate of 3205 January 1993 Photo © Steve Edge

After an extensive search, the Board has appointed Dick Wood as a successor to our long serving GM, Richard Elliott. Richard has decided to retire on 31st March next year and Dick will take over on a full time basis from 1st April 2009. Until then he will be working part time whilst he winds down his existing business interests and starts to familiarise himself with our management processes.

Dick Wood (52) has been a volunteer and supporter of the SDR since 1972 and is well known to many working volunteers as a fireman on the footplate roster.

After working across the UK and the South West region in a number of senior PR and marketing positions for both central and local government organisations, Dick has run his own successful PR business since 1998. He has also been working for the SDR as our publicity agent for the last couple of years and it was his efforts that made a significant contribution to the increased visitor numbers last year.

In addition to his railway experience on the SDR, Dick is a driver and long-serving volunteer on the West Somerset Railway, and also worked for five years for the Tyne & Wear PTE and underground Metro system in and around Newcastle.

We have a very special, friendly branch-line atmosphere here with staff and volunteers working hand in hand, and I can assure you that Dick's aim is to maintain that relationship and try to get the best out of our people, as well as obviously making our visitors welcome.

We cannot run the railway without volunteers, so we're pleased to have recruited someone who really understands that. We also needed someone with a proven track record to steer the South Devon Railway into the next decade and manage the major redevelopments planned at Buckfastleigh which will make the SDR even better.

Richard is a hard act to follow and it is with some regret that we see him stepping down, but the good news is that he will still be involved although now as a volunteer and choosing what he wants to do!

Richard left the comparative security of his previous job as a Devon bank manager in Chagford in 1991 to become our first GM. It was a big step but he set about his new task with tireless energy and enthusiasm, and has developed our railway into one of the South West's top visitor attractions.

Richard will continue to be the full time GM at least until Christmas and there will be a phased handover of responsibilities, further announcements will be made as and when these occur.

We have a great deal to thank him for and I know Dick is determined to continue to build on the good foundations Richard has laid. I would like to ask all members and volunteers to work with both Richard and Dick over the coming months to make sure the transition is a smooth one.

Alan Taylor
On behalf of the Directors of the South Devon Railway Trust

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