A heritage railway famous for its starring role in the film The Railway Children has safeguarded its future after transforming itself into a company limited by guarantee.

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway has incorporated its Preservation Society to transform its status so it will be able to access different funding sources, guaranteeing its future.

Society chairman Dr Matthew Stroh said legal developments over the years opened the doors to the changes, which were due to come into place today.

Dr Stroh said: “The railway was one of the first such societies to be established and at the time there were very few options for corporate structure which fitted with the requirements of the then new organisation.

“Legal developments over recent years have allowed us, with support and guidance from specialist lawyers Lupton Fawcett and financial advisors Grant Thornton, to be able to effect significant changes which open up these possibilities.

“We are all fiercely proud of what has been achieved by the railway’s volunteer workforce to date and it is vital that our hard work is preserved and protected.”

The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway Preservation Society has about 5,000 members which, following confirmation at the last annual general meeting, was due to be transferred to the new company limited by guarantee from today.

The railway is operated by a pool of 400 working volunteers, who staff and manage the railway day-in day-out, supported by five full-time administrative and engineering staff.

Giles Clegg, head of the corporate team at Lupton Fawcett LLP, said: “We’ve been delighted to work with a Yorkshire icon in helping to modernise the constitutional structure of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.”

Dr Stroh, who is also an associate director at Grant Thornton’s Leeds office, said: “I’ve advised on many corporate restructures over the years working with the lawyers to help clients, so it is a very novel experience to be on the receiving end of business advice from the legal team at Lupton Fawcett.

“The firm has taken time to understand the organisation, attending various management and general meetings to ensure we all understood the changes and their implications.

“Their support has been invaluable in ensuring a smooth transition to the new structure.”

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