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Music celebrities get on board ambitious plan to celebrate Ashford's railway heritage on old Newtown rail works site

A star-studded roster of celebrity supporters are all aboard plans for a model railway visitor centre in Ashford.

Musicians Roger Daltrey and Jools Holland and music producer Pete Waterman are backing the Ashford International Model Railway Excellence Centre (AIMREC), according to campaigners.

All three are known for their enthusiasm for model railways, with former Who frontman Roger Daltrey the first to publicly express his support for the project.

Singer Roger Daltrey is behind the plan
Singer Roger Daltrey is behind the plan

Woodchurch businessman Cliff Parsons, 68, who is co-ordinating the museum campaign, said: “The reaction we’ve had from all over the world has been phenomenal. The website has had more than 100,000 visitors from about 35 countries.

“We’ve now paid a huge deposit on the land and we’re in the process of fundraising to pay for various surveys which have to be carried out before we can submit any plans to the council.

“Contracts have now been exchanged for the purchase of the site, with a purchase completion date of February 2015. We estimate the centre will open in the autumn of 2016.”

AIMREC is a redevelopment planned for the old Klondyke Railway Works in Newtown which the group behind the scheme hopes will become an international tourist destination.

Roger Daltrey, Pete Waterman, Jools Holland, Sir William McAlpine and Philip Christensen will make up the main trustees, who will work with a steering committee made up of seven other trustees.

Record producer Pete Waterman
Record producer Pete Waterman

Mr Parsons says the trustees hope that AIMREC, which will feature working model railways as well as historical information about Ashford’s rail heritage, could bring 100,000 visitors to the town in its first year.

For more information, visit www.aimrec.co.uk

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