AN Oakworth man who starred alongside Bernard Cribbins in the classic 1970 film The Railway Children has paid tribute to the popular actor and comedian.

Graham Mitchell was a newly-qualified volunteer guard on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway when film crews descended on the five-mile line to shoot the movie.

He played the guard on the Old Gentleman's Train in the film, with Mr Cribbins – whose death, aged 93, has been announced – famously starring as the station porter Perks.

"It's very sad to hear of the death of a man who was such a gifted character actor and comic in a wide range of roles across six decades," says Mr Mitchell.

"Bernard gave so much joy and happiness to so many people – children and adults alike – throughout his life, on screen and stage and radio.

"It was an honour and a privilege to have worked with him on Oakworth Station in the classic 1970 film. He was a man of great warmth and charm whose quips and ad-libs in that film have been repeated and enjoyed many, many times by several generations of Keighley & Worth Valley Railway volunteers. Rest in peace Bernard, you were truly a 'national treasure'."

Mr Cribbins returned to the Worth Valley line in the 1980s to present a half-hour Great Days Out programme for the BBC, in which he rode in the Old Gentleman's carriage – something he never got to do during the film. He also interviewed Mr Mitchell, who was Keighley & Worth Valley Railway chairman at the time.