Hayling Billy’s 100-year history is celebrated

NOSTALGIA From left, James Prentice, Kelly-Marie Prentice, Cliff Robinson, Janice Robinson, Alfie Prentice and Isabella Prentice, who visited the event. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133036-073)
NOSTALGIA From left, James Prentice, Kelly-Marie Prentice, Cliff Robinson, Janice Robinson, Alfie Prentice and Isabella Prentice, who visited the event. Picture: Allan Hutchings (133036-073)
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ONE hundred years of history were celebrated to commemorate the 50th year of the much-loved Hayling Billy Line’s closure.

The route between Hayling Island and Havant last ran in 1963, after operating for almost a century.

Hundreds of people visited the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre in East Street, Havant to find out more about the line and the periods in which it ran at the popular event on Saturday.

Jo Payter, education and heritage assistant at The Spring, said: ‘The theme is celebrating the 100 years that the Hayling Billy ran for.

‘All the activities are designed to incorporate everyone, not just rail enthusiasts – it’s for families and children as well.

‘We have tried to put on an activity that represents each of the periods the trains ran for. It ran through the Victorian and Edwardian period, it ran through both world wars into the 50s and 60s.

‘About eight months ago we advertised for people to come forward with their memories of Hayling Billy.

‘We have had a great response. One lady met her husband on the Hayling Billy line.’

Attractions at the weekend’s event included 1940s hair styling, 1950s make-up, two Hayling Billy exhibitions and the Hayling Billy 50 exhibition.

South Hants Model Railway Club was also on hand with an operable railway model display.

Other attractions included a Second World War tea dance to add to the nostalgic flavour of the day.

Jo added: ‘It’s about making history available to everyone.

‘It’s not just a museum with stuff in, it can be brought to life.’

Peter Drury, a retired BAE Systems project worker with a passion for railways, nature and photography, kick-started the bid to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closure of the Hayling Billy Line.

His idea has attracted widespread support and a diverse programme of events, including exhibitions and shows, have taken place to mark the anniversary.

Peter said: ‘What we had always wanted to do, and I think we have achieved, is to get a broad range of people to visit.

‘There’s so much here.’