Posted: 01.05.21 at 09:34 by Francesca Evans
Seaton Tramway – one of East Devon's most popular visitor attractions – has won an award for its innovative fundraising ideas.
The team from the tramway tuned into the 2021 Heritage Railway Association (HRA) awards this week and were delighted to win a brand-new award, Most Innovative Fundraising Idea, for its Tramathon Live Appeal.
Seaton Tramway faced competition from Talyllyn Railway, Mid-Hants Railway & Bahamas Locomotive Society and Bluebell Railway.
The prize was awarded for the HRA operating member that has produced the most innovative fundraising project during the COVID crisis.
The coronavirus pandemic was unprecedented and created difficult times across heritage railways and the leisure and hospitality sector. Attractions such as Seaton Tramway have survived thanks to the support of visitors through fundraising events, donations and ticket sales.
The tramway celebrated its 50th year of operation at Seaton in 2020, and like other heritage railways saw an abrupt halt to its income that helps keep the trams serviced, the track maintained and its future secure.
To help boost funds, Seaton Tramway went live on Facebook in June 2020 for a 24-hour continuous tram trip, between Seaton and Colyton stations. Starting at 12noon on Friday, a team of volunteers shared shifts through the 24 hours and streamed the entire trip live online.
The fundraising appeal included a week of live videos which took viewers behind the scenes of the tramway, introducing them to new projects that would be accessible on reopening, a live driver’s eye experience and question and answer sessions, seeing out the week with the 24-hour continuous tram ride.
With many generous donations, Seaton Tramway managed to raise over £30,000.
Chief executive Jenny Nunn commented: “Tramathon has proved a novel and ingenious way to reach new audiences whilst stuck at home during lockdown and we very much look forward to the next one starting June 5.
"My grateful thanks to HRA for the award, to the great public support and to all of those who gave their time freely to make Tramathon such a success.”
Seaton Tramway has also had support from the government's Cultural Recovery Fund totalling £657,600. The funds will go directly to support wages, major overheads, such as track & tram maintenance and the creation of new offers and projects with world class partners and exhibitions.
Seaton Tramway recently received the Travellers Choice award on TripAdvisor and won ‘Tramway of the Year’ and ‘Event of the Year’ with British Trams Online.
Seaton Tramway is now open every day from 10am to 5pm until October 31.
The now award-winning Tramathon Live will return over June 5 and 6 for another 24-hour live trip, streamed online. This year visitors will be allowed to travel on this unique event.