TOURISM: Toy train group bags 2nd prize – UK award for school work – but sadly without a functioning Toy Train, chugging up and down the hills ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, Nov. 30: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society’s Education Group has been awarded the second prize by the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) for education-related services at schools along the toy train tracks.
The five-year-old group has bagged the prize in the international category.
“We were delighted to receive this award and share the honour with our hard working partners in India who contribute so much to our work with children and young people. Special thanks go to the ladies of the Inner Wheel Club of Darjeeling and to the DHR India Support Group who help us to implement our education-related activities in the Darjeeling hills,” Paul Whittle, the chairman of the DHRS Education Group wrote in an e-mail to The Telegraph.
“The certificate was given to us at the ACoRP’s annual prize giving ceremony held on September 24 in the presence of two hundred representatives of community rail groups and the wider railway industry,” he wrote.
Based in the UK, the ACoRP is funded by the transport department of the country. It has 60 community railway partnerships and promotion groups as its members. The association works for the betterment of facilities at the railway stations in the UK.
Every year ACoRP distributes awards in different categories. The DHRS had received the Best International Achievement Award from the association for welfare projects along the DHR tracks in 2009.
The five-member Education Group that also includes Whittle was formed in 2005 as a sub-committee of the DHRS with the aim to spread awareness of the Unesco World Heritage Railway, its history, its conservation and its relevance to the economy. The group has published post-cards, colouring and riddle books, jig-saw puzzles and quiz on the DHR and has been distributing them in schools across the hills.
It also organises annual drama, quiz, art, singing, dancing and model making contests for students. “Since its formation in 2005 the DHRS Education Group has sponsored annual competitions for children in schools alongside the DHR tracks. The competitions are specifically designed to increase awareness about the DHR, its history, heritage and its continuing importance to tourism and the local economy,” Whittle wrote.
This year, 800 students from 53 schools in Makaibari Tea Estate and the adjoining areas, and Kurseong, Ghum and Darjeeling, participated in the contests. “All the participants in the different competitions were awarded badges, certificates and treated to Chinese food and chocolate cakes. Little Angels School of Ghum bagged the Championship Trophy for their achievement in sit-and-draw competition,” he wrote.