A COMMUNITY rail partnership has won a coveted national accolade for its work with people who have dementia.

The Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership, known as the Bentham Line, beat off strong competition to take the Influencing Positive Change award.

The honour was presented at an annual Association of Community Rail Partnerships gala dinner, in Telford.

More than 400 people, including senior Government and rail-industry figures, attended.

The awards recognise work carried out by partnerships, station friends and other railway groups across the country.

Working with train operator Northern, Dementia Friendly Keighley and other organisations, the Bentham Line has staged a series of rail trips for dementia groups from across West Yorkshire.

Destinations have included Morecambe Bay and the Forest of Bowland.

The partnership has also helped establish Dementia Friendly Bentham and provided support for similar groups in towns including Keighley and Skipton.

Its work has sparked enquiries from a host of train operators and other community rail partnerships interested in replicating the project.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of the Association of Community Rail Partnerships, congratulated the Bentham Line.

He added: “These awards celebrate the passion and hard work of community rail partnerships and volunteers across Britain.

“The efforts of the Leeds-Morecambe partnership and all our winners show how important community rail is – connecting local people with their railways and building happier and more inclusive communities.”

Rod Tickner, co-founder of Dementia Friendly Keighley, said he was delighted to be associated with the rail-outing initiative.

He added: “I know from those who have had reminiscences rekindled on trips how enjoyable, supportive and helpful the experience was for those living with dementia, their carers and supporters.

“We look forward to receiving similar groups from stations further west along the railway line in 2020 to sample the various venues in and around Keighley such as East Riddlesden Hall, which has become a dementia-friendly site during the last year.”