RPSI 50 Deliver on key objectives
RPSI 50 delivered on its key objectives of raising the Society's profile, encouraging and enthusing the membership, creating a favourable impression within the railway companies and among their staff - and helping to fill seats on our trains.
The year's celebrations have been driven by the RPSI 50 committee, namely Heather Boomer, Sullivan Boomer, Mervyn Darragh, Charles Friel, Denis Grimshaw, John Lockett, Phil Lockett, Joe McKeown, Dermot Mackie, Robin Morton (Convenor), Joan Smyth, Mark Walsh and Derek Young (Chairman). It spanned the generations and also boasted a gender balance.
Details of the year's events have been faithfully recorded by RPSI Secretary Paul McCann on the RPSI website.
Thanks are due to the RPSI 50 committee but also so many other people from within the Society and beyond; in particular, thanks to Mike Beckett who filmed and produced the celebrated RPSI 50 DVD, along with our in-house designers - Debra Wenlock, Emma Mackie and Stephen Comiskey. A talented team.
At its first meeting on 19th August 2013, the RPSI 50 committee agreed that the aim was to "celebrate and communicate, to raise the profile of the RPSI and to recognise the contribution made by members north and south over so many years." Essentially, it was seen as a golden opportunity to sell the Society to the membership, the public, government and the railway companies. Anniversaries get noticed, and they also open doors and win influence.
From those early thoughts, the year gathered momentum. From pop-ups to posters, headboards and tailboards, lapel badges and car stickers, flowerbeds and banners, publicity leaflets and single leaf fliers, and lunches to launches, the ideas kept on coming, and the committee enacted them all.
One of the core challenges was to enlist 50 new members and to convert 50 existing members into active volunteers and it is good to report that during the year the Society did indeed sign up 56 new members, while 40 names were added to the list of active volunteers. This initiative was given a boost at the end of November by the staging of a volunteers' day at Whitehead, organised by our newly appointed volunteer co-ordinator Alastair Maxwell.
In 2015 the RPSI 50 committee is planning to morph back into its original role as RPSI Events Committee and to continue to seek to "sprinkle a little stardust" over the RPSI's activities.
The Society has made an investment but RPSI 50 paid a worthwhile dividend, and the benefits will continue to be felt for several years to come. The bar was raised as regards the Society's image and the challenge now is to continue to keep ourselves in the public eye - for the right reasons.
Our Golden Jubilee was a busy year for all those involved but it was also an exciting, entertaining, enjoyable and exhilarating 12 months. It has helped to put the RPSI on the map and now the Society must build on the success of the past year. So watch this space!