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Northern Belle train makes first visit to Kent next year

By Mary Graham

A luxury vintage train will make its first visit to Kent next year on a fundraising journey for the Heart of Kent Hospice - but those who fancy being on board will need to steam into action quickly.

The Northern Belle usually works routes in the north of England. But in May it will depart from Maidstone to head through the Kent countryside with passengers enjoying a five-course meal, coupled with fine wines and exquisite service.

And as an extra treat its period-style carriages, restored to reflect Britain’s famous ‘Belle and Pullman’ trains of the 1920s and 1930s, will be hauled by a Black class 5 steam locomotive.

The Northern Belle
The Northern Belle

It is the latest way the Aylesford-based hospice is looking to generate money towards the £4 million it needs every year to care for 1,300 patients and their families.

However it is not the first time a train has been chartered by the charity. When the KM announced the British Belmond would call at Maidstone East in 2016 tickets sold out in days.

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Erica Snow, the hospice’s community and events fundraising manager, said: “We do a lot of challenge-type fundraisers, such as the Moonlit Walk, and a 5k run, but this is something at the other end of the scale.

The first course on board a Northern Belle launch event
The first course on board a Northern Belle launch event
Northern Belle (submitted by Northern Belle) (3325310)
Northern Belle (submitted by Northern Belle) (3325310)

“It is about sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the day and the steam element adds an extra dimension. We try our hardest to create good memories for the people who need the hospice. This experience is another way of creating memories and is something which can be booked to mark a special occasion.”

The Northern Belle is visiting Maidstone (submitted by Northern Belle)
The Northern Belle is visiting Maidstone (submitted by Northern Belle)

The Heart of Kent Hospice’s Northern Belle journey sets off from Maidstone East station on Saturday, May 11 for a four-hour loop of the Kent countryside. The provisional departure time is 12.30pm. Tickets cost £349 per person, which includes a champagne reception, table canapes, five-course lunch, half a bottle of wine per person and coffee with petit fours.

To book click visit the Heart of Kent Hospice homepage here or call 01622 790195.

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