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Statement from the Bluebell Railway

The friends and family of the founder of the Bluebell Railway, Bernard Holden MBE, are paying their final respects at his funeral in Ditchling in East Sussex.

The Bluebell Railway wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Bernard. He was always very positive and strong and very willing to help younger people. He was always very energetic and kept us going. Our only sadness is that he didn't see us going into East Grinstead"

– Avril Gaynor, Spokeswoman for the Bluebell Railway

Crowds pay their final respects

Bernard Holden MBE said 'steam was in his blood'. Credit: Jim Holden

The family and friends of Bernard Holden MBE are paying their final respects at his funeral on the Bluebell Railway in East Sussex. The 104-year-old passed away peacefully on the 4th October.

The steam train prepares to carry Bernard Holden on his final journey Credit: ITV Meridian
Rail engineers carry the coffin onto the train Credit: ITV Meridian
Volunteers stand in solemn salute Credit: ITV Meridian


Final journey for steam train engineer

The former President of the Bluebell Railway, Bernard Holden MBE will take his final trip on the line later, as family and friends gather to pay their final respects.

Mr Holden dedicated his life to the preservation of the railway and its unique history. He celebrated his 104th birthday back in March.

He passed away peacefully at the nursing home where he had lived for some time on the 4th October.

Creator of the Bluebell Railway dies aged 104

Bernard Holden Credit: Jim Holden

One of the founders of the Bluebell Railway in Sussex has died at the age of 104.

Bernard Holden MBE was the Operations Manager at Victoria Station until 1959, when he retired in order to start the steam line, founded a year later.

He worked on it into his 90s and remained lifetime President of the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society. He was awarded the MBE in 1992 for his services to steam railway preservation.

His family said he passed away peacefully early this morning at his care home in Ditchling.