I HAD A proper 'proud dad' moment in January when my eldest son, Harvey, who has just turned 13, joined the Railway's Young Person's working group and enjoyed his volunteering duty with the group.

He spent a day at the Museum of Rail Travel cleaning their 125-year-old steam locomotive, Sir Berkeley, in preparation for it to join the fleet for our Steam Spectacular weekend which runs from February 27 to March 1.

We haven't worked out how to encourage him to expend quite so much energy cleaning at home as yet...

He really enjoyed his first 'turn,' working as part of a team and under constant supervision, being given some responsibility.

Working on the engine is helping him to understand both how a locomotive works and also appreciate the huge amount of physical effort that goes into maintaining a piece of history of this vintage.

We appreciate how vital is is that we engage and interest the younger generation, because we have a responsibility to pass on the engineering and operational knowledge to the volunteers of the future to safeguard the future of the railway.

We know that it is well worth the effort of arranging the training and support for the mentors to the group, and working to find projects suitable for the youngsters, which will both enthuse and educate them.

Over the years the Young Person's Group (YPG) members have undertaken a variety of projects around the railway, including cosmetic restoration of out-of-service steam engines residing in the Oxenhope Exhibition Shed, constructing a number of 'lamp huts', working with our track and locomotive maintenance teams, and helping Santa and his Pixies, as well as various duties at stations through the year.

It is really pleasing that a very high proportion of members of the YPG continue on to become volunteers when they turn 16.

The group is open to 13 to 15 year olds and meets most Saturdays. The group is managed by our Young Person's Officer, who sets the programme of activities and liaises with parents and the young person as necessary to ensure that they get a breadth of experience, under appropriate supervision.

Do please get in touch if you have a budding young volunteer at home (I can assure that it's not hereditary, because my younger son has no interest in trains whatsoever, other than when Santa is on board).

Don't forget that we operate throughout the winter, and are running during the February half-term holidays next week, as well as every weekend.

The Winter Steam Spectacular promises to be perfect for everyone, whether old or young, big or small, with up to to eight different steam locomotives in action, vintage carriages, goods trains and express trains.

People can get up close and have a look on the footplate during the event, which runs from February 27 to March 1.

The Steam Spectacular is expected to see the gala debut of British Railways Standard Class No 15078.

Having successfully completed a ‘mainline’ passenger ‘turn’ on January 24, the locomotive is just a whisker away from a full return to service, in unlined BR black with the early BR emblem on the tender.