Keighley and Worth Valley Preservation Society held its annual meeting last week, which gave me the chance to report to the membership on progress made during the past 12 months.

I opened my address to the AGM by noting that as we have passed the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Society, we are sadly going to have to get more used to saying farewell to familiar faces. Ann Cryer, our president, and others, have officiated over a number of memorial occasions during the year.

However, it is even worse when someone is taken away from us earlier than they should be. I was keen that the meeting remembered Chris Bray in particular, a much-missed member of the civil maintenance team, and also to wish well a number of other long-standing volunteers who are currently very poorly.

On more positive news, I reported the directors are ensuring we continued to put the organisation on a stable financial footing, and on establishing a clear development plan for the railway so we can target fundraising efforts on key projects.

Plans include providing more secure storage for vehicles at Oxenhope. At Haworth, we hope to extend the undercover locomotive accommodation, and move heavy machinery from the stone goods shed into a building that would also cover the historically-important wheel-drop.

This would give us the benefit of a much better working environment, but also a training and locomotive visitor facility. We plan to relocate some of the stored locomotives from Oxenhope to Haworth, which would support our planned partnership with the National Railway Museum by welcoming some of their vehicles to the Exhibition Shed at Oxenhope.

We are looking for funding to develop the water tower at Keighley into a visitor attraction, hopefully with a model layout of the railway where our Young Person’s Group can explain the railway to younger volunteers.

During his tenure as finance director, Ian Mitchell has transformed the railway’s finance function and reporting on costs and revenues, and has been a driving force behind helping to put the railway on a very firm financial footing. He retired from the post at the AGM, and I am very pleased to report he was elected a vice-president in recognition of his work.

We also thanked Alistair Falvey and David Pearson for their efforts as board members, as they withdrew their nominations for re-appointment due to pressures of work. Both hope to be involved with board meetings and continue in their day-to-day volunteer roles. We have worked hard to increase income significantly during recent years. Ian Mitchell reported an increase of £300,000 since he was appointed finance director and I was appointed chairman, but that has not been easy to achieve and has stretched our volunteer base, so we are very keen for others to join us!