Memories of Members by John Wade.
Also take a look at the Members Gallery page where pictures of many of these members can be found.
Also take a look at the Members Memories page where members share their memories of the society.
In no particular order really just how these ex members spring to mind, can you add to this list?
Dave Felton, from Buckley Wells in Bury (literally). Probably the person who can take more credit for the forming of the Counties than anyone else. Without him it would have probably never existed. He knew everybody and everything about the Buckley Wells and then the Counties. Very outgoing, loud and a big personality. Dave lived his latter years in Lower Darwen, with his own photography business. After retiring he became quite reclusive, which was sad because he had so many stories still to tell. Sadly Dave passed away on 7th June 2021. Thanks Dave for all yourv efforts, they were appreciated.
Dave Lewis, known as "Brush", undoubtably his hair stlye earned him his nick name. Lived for most of his life in Eckington, near Chesterfield and worked at TinsleyDepot as a secondman, then supervising in Tinsley Marshalling Yard. As he worked on "The railway", always a mine of new information and a fountain of knowledge. A larger than life character on Counties Trips. He could usually be heard waxing lyrical about Blackpool, he loved the place! Sadly passed away in 2020,,,,,,,,,,RIP pal
Paul Gascarth, big mate of "Brush", (as above), did he live in Blackpool?
Malcolm Littler, from Pelsall near Birminham. Liked a pint and still does when he gets the chance, still an enthusiast, now retired. Malcolm gets out when he can.
Dan Bramall, lived in Sheffield and was on most trips in the early 70's. His Christian name was Evander and in later life he preferred to be called "Van". Once seen, never forgotten!! Another much larger than life character. Sadly passed away in 2018. "Van" had been my partner in crime at The Heritage Shunters Trust and we had spent many, many, happy hours together, which had turned into years, restoring locos. "Van" had been our Treasurer at HST and lets just say at times he could be very imaginative!! Losing "Van" for me is just indescribable, something I will never get over properly. We first met on a train heading over the Woodhead in 1966/7. He was going on a Salford Railfans trip and I was going on a Buckley Wells, we weren't to know of course when we vied with each other about which was the best spotting club, that the clubs would subsequently merge and apart from his time in Saudi Arabia we never lost contact. Dan was the Bookings secretary for the Counties for a number of years.,,,,,,,,,,,,RIP mate, never to be forgotten.
Dave Southern, from Westhoughton, near Bolton. A big Man City fan and another unforgettable character. Drove a white Volkswagen Beetle, when he wasnt driving us to distraction on the Counties! Where are you now Dave?? Christened "Maisie" by Roger Richards, the banter between them was legendary!!
Roger Richards, who lived in North Sheffield on the Shiregreen Estate. Big and burly with a Van Dyke beard, long hair and another great character. Worked for Sheffield University with the advent of computers. Roger's consumption of the amber nectar was legendary as he was a big rugby man as well. Sadly in 1992 he collapsed and died while returning to Sheffield on an excursion train,,,RIP mate.
Paul Hooton, from Darnall, Sheffield. Big mates with Roger and another member of the Sheffield spotting mafia, as above and another big spotter and regular on trips. Paul now runs a youth football team and has retired from spotting. Was the navigator on Counties trip for a period
Graham Barlow, our long term Treasurer, who really tried his best and for the most part, kept us on the straight and narrow with our finances. Graham hailed from Manchester, he moved to Bishops Stortford for his work, but still managed to attend a few more trips. Now lives abroad.
John Frisby, from Buxton, originally with the Buckley Wells and carried on with the Counties as an official after the amalgamation. John studied to become an Accountant.
Ian Collier, our membership secretary for a time. Ian was a very quiet kind of lad compared with the rest of us but with a wicked sense of humour. Hailed from Swinton, Manchester. Big mates with Graham Barlow and Alan Howells.
Alan Howells, brother of Harry Howells and lived near Swinton Manchester. Could usually be seen on trips smoking his "Gun", (pipe), what a fantastic fella, he had been left partially disabled by having polio when as a baby, but never let it get him down or in his way. Very sociable and always with a smile on his face. Worked at Chloride near Swinton, and cared for his mum while she looked after him. In later life he married Christine, a match made in heaven. A great guy and another no longer with us passed away, around 2015.
Graham Howarth, a great guy and friend who I instantly gelled with. From Preston and now lives in the Southern United States. A big photographer whom recently told me "When I retire I'm going to sort my negatives out as a priority!" Graham is a very clever Chemist, who now runs a research laboratory for the American Company he is employed by, however I get the feeling he is still a spotter at heart, who would go back to the Counties tomorrow, with the due permission from his wife of course.
Alan Howarth, younger brother of Graham above. Always game for a laugh and once was even stripped of all of his clothes by other heartless members, (us), and made to run up the hard shoulder of the A19 in just his underpants!!
George Dawson. A roofer from Blackpool who had started spotting late in life as he loved writing numbers down! Another real character who always added to the Camaraderie of the Counties. Big mates with Alan Howells and myself.
Alan Fawcett, from Barnoldswick. A very larger than life character and a leading official throughout most of the Counties days. Its incalculable how many depots etc he got us round with his silver tongue and charm. A very regular attender on trips and an official for most of the duration of the Counties. It was he who introduced the Counties to B&J Travel who would play a major role in providing coaches for our trips.
Chris Carpenter,"Road Runner", (so christened by Alan Fawcett), as Chris invariably volunteered to go and get the numbers if it was a look out of the coach window to view a line of locos for the rest of us. Now retired from the Big railway, where he was a driver at Longsight and living in Greater Manchester where he has lived for most of his life.
Jeff Platts, another quiet lad but attended numerous trips. He reputedly lived in inner Manchester. Rumour has it that he progressed through the ranks of the Railway and ended with a high profile job. Probably retired now.
John Orlowski, another Mancunian who was the plumber at Styal womens prison. Came on many trips. Now retired from work and spotting, watches amateur football.
Derek Orregio, another great guy and our only African, (by descent), member. A big spotter and another very regular attendee on trips, also came from Manchester. Last seen working for Trans-Pennine? as a host on trains with a tea trolley. Derek had a big personality who could take a joke without taking offence.
George Calvert, came from North Sheffield, in the district of Firth Park. I am mentioning this as from memory if anyone ever asked him where he was from? (anywhere in the Country), George's immediate response was "Firth Park!, so he often went by this nickname! Still spotting as far as is known.
Bill Corden, from Wadsley Bridge, Sheffield, another really nice guy, very quiet but knowledgable and another regular on trips.
Martyn Stuart, known as "Head Banger"and probably christened that by Alan Fawcett. n Another larger than life character who was in love with trainspotting. Martyn lived all of his life in Hayfield, New Mills, sadly passed away in circa 2015.
Peter Trotter, big mates with the above also from New Mills? Pete was our Membership Secretary for a while in the late 70's. Then pursued a new life in the Royal Marines. Now back home in blighty and came to the 2019 reunion in Manchester.
Harry Howells, elder brother of Alan Howells. Harry worked for Lancashire United as a bus driver and in the early days of the Counties helped out driving when needed. He did far more than this of course as his address, Stanwell Road, Swinton, was synonomous with the Counties through the late 60's into the mid Seventies, where most of the printing of Society publications were printed including our magazine.
Penny Howells, wife of Harry who also helped out with the running of the Society, including for one period in time organising the shop on trips (but more of that later).
Ricky Heaton, who was a Counties member in the early days and originated from Nelson? His theories on life, (usually told in the middle of the night on trips ) and other matters were fascinating, totally off the wall and an ideal candidate for the Counties!!
Tony Davidson, another really great fella from Nelson? There was a very strong contigent from Burnley and the surrounding areas.
Billy Storey, an engineer by trade from the Burnley area. Another member in the early 70s who must now be retired.
Chris Storey, younger brother of the above and another really great young fella to get along with. Later joined the police and eventually became a Sargent in the Force.
Kenneth Howlett, known as "Chippy", from the Burnley area. Was another member in the very early days of the Counties. Another good mate who you could guarantee you were going to have a laugh a minute weekend with!
Des Carvill, from Liverpool, another lad who eventually joined the police and in Liverpool!!
Bill Whittaker, from Manchester. Still spotting to this day and another great chap who made it to the reunion in Manchester. As I remember he rode a motorbike?
Stuart Warr, an early Counties member, nicknamed "Wobble", probably by Dave Felton, moved to Porthcawl, South Wales, from the West Midlands but even then managed the occasional Counties trip. Still very active with a camera in the modern day Railway scene and been an official in the RCTS for a number of years. Stuart has readily offered to write his Counties memories for us all to enjoy, for which I thank him. Could you be the next to share your memories??
Steve Sienkiwciez, originated from Lancaster, another good mate who came on many trips. Steve eventually joined the West Yorkshire Police Traffic division and as memory recalls was their youngest ever recruit in this role. Interestingly, after his police career he became Jim Bowen's chauffeur (of Bullseye Fame), and tells me the exploits he had with Jim, nearly rivalled his exploits on the Counties! Also still a prolific Railway photographer, who often has his amazing railway /landscape photos published in the Railway Periodicals, another great fella.
Nicholas Clarke, from Bentley, Doncaster. Alias "Cag"as his likeness to James Cagney was uncanny. A massive Doncaster ("Donny") Rovers football fan and never afraid to share this fact or his other ideas and theories. Nick started as a secondman on BR as then was and now lives in Western Australia. Memory doesn't allow me at the moment to tell you the Railway Company he drives for, but they are massive trains, some half a mile long, weighing upwards of 2000 tons, of iron ore!! Its a little selfish but it would be great if he emigrated back to England, but he tells me the weather and the outdoors does it for him in Australia. Oh! and his Australian wife! If you got "Cag" and "Head Banger" (Martyn Stuart), on the same trip, you just knew it was going to be laughs all the way!!!
Gary Mousdell, also from Bentley, another schoolboy who grew up on the Counties and like a lot more of us has never quite got over the fact that the Counties eventually folded. nNow drives a tamper for Volker Rail and tells me he can be anywhere in the Country with his machine at any given time. nHows that for a licence to see the network?? Also made the reunion in 2019.
John Bower, also from Doncaster and big mates with the above, just a schoolboy when he was a Counties member, but remembers the Counties days with great affection. John is now a self employed financial adviser and confided that some professional footballers he has advised have been some of the most unhappy people he has ever come across as "They have done it all". Well almost, but then again they never experienced an Overnight Counties Trip, that would have sorted them!! Another of the Donny contigent who made it to the 2019 reunion.
John Eaton, another schoolboy as then was, who came on Counties trips as a youngster and has the utmost praise for those long lost daysand memories. Also from Doncaster and both he and John Bower attended the 2019 reunion. Now a postman in the Doncaster area.
Neil Booth, yes the Neil Booth that runs the Railway Auctions. Lived at the time in North Wales, but now gone upmarket in the Cotswolds.
Harry Needle, Harry grew up in Golbourne, Lancashire so had local access to the West Coast Mainline. A regular attendee on Counties trips and now runs his own railway company based in Chesterfield and Worksop.
Frank Needle, younger brother of Harry as above another schoolboy who came on a number of Counties trips.
Norman Garner, from Golbourne, who grew on from being a school lad into a gentle giant with a handlebar moustache! Another character, once met never forgotten.
Roger Hendry, from Golbourne, who had previously been a member of the Buckley Wells and carried on after the amalgamation with the Counties. He was the membership Secretary for a while.
Dave Bentley, from Manchester, another character never to be forgotten. Even if only half of the stories he told us of the ladies in his life were true, he certainly got around!
Nigel Capelle, from Macclesfield, Nigel was originally a member of the Cheshire Railfans and joined the Counties on the amalgamation. Served on the Commitee for a good period of time.
Dave Walby, from Padiham. Dave had been in the RAF at Leucars, Scotland and Cambridgeshire. Made up for lost time coming on many of the trips before the Counties folded. Also served on the Commitee in the latter days of the Counties.
Paul Rothery, from Sheffield, nicknamed "Captain Nemo", probably by Nick Clarke, but the nickname stuck. Another really nice chap who always joined in the fun and banter. Still spotting and interested in most forms of transport. Now retired in Eckington, Derbyshire.
George Newsham, probably from Todmorden? Came on quite a few trips throughout the seventies.
Mark Greenwood, also from Todmorden and nicknamed "prof ", probably by Alan Fawcett, may be because he wore substantial black framed glasses? Another great guy and easy to get along with.
Tim Bott, from Swallownest, near Sheffield. Tim is still a big enthusiast and drives locos for GBRF, including 50s & 56's and he gets paid for doing this!! Another big Counties man, who I suspect would be back on Counties trips in a heartbeat. Now lives in Worksop. Was introduced to the Counties by Barry Marshall.
Barry Marshall, a big Sheffield Tigers speedway fan and hails from Treeton near Rotherham? But have to check that one out. I believe Barry is still spotting when possible.
Dave Holt, from the Manor estate in Sheffield. He held a Commitee post in the early days of the Counties.
Steve Davidson, aka "Potty", from Scarborough. Named after one of his hobbies which was pot holing, incredible given the shape of him, lets just say he was never slim!! His other hobby was Morris Dancing (Yes, I know not a lot going for him!!). A fantastic irrepressible chap who was constantly laughing and was a very jolly character. Alan Fawcett just didnt know what to do with him!
Mike Rodgers, as memory serves he came from Sale or Altrincham? Mike was also a quiet chap but would readily share a joke. A regular attender of trips and also served on the Commitee and a really nice fella.
Peter Hall, a schoolboy spotter on the Counties trips, from Sheffield and a lifelong enthusiast with a superb memory, and recall, and the wherewithal to archive as much material as he has been able to do about our club. There is still much to discover, some of course has been lost forever in the mists of time, but Peter is patiently beavering away recording as much as possible before its too late. You can help with this and just maybe unravel some of the enigmas and questions which are still not answered. Luckily ways to communicate have never been easier and I will leave Peter to tell you himself on the Archives page within this website how you can help him with the job in hand.
Finally John Wade.(Me). A lifelong enthusiast also from Sheffield. Its fair to say that even to this day I still miss the Counties and more so the members and the Camaraderie that went with it. Not really into the modern scene, but have been involved in Railway Preservation for over 35 years now. My main preoccupation is ex British Railway shunters of which I took many photos on the main system before digressing into British Railway shunters in Industry. I was with one Harry Needle? in London when I made the mistake of asking the future of the 01, D2953 and it all went downhill from there. I am joking of course about this and very lucky, as after spending my working life in heavy engineering, I took to restoring locos like a duck to water. After saying that if B&J Travel (with all of the Counties crew on board), were picking up at the gates of Sheffield Midland at 21.00 hrs on Saturday evening to take me on an overnight Counties trip, there would be no contest!!
I still have my Counties magazines, membership cards, blue 47 club badges and other Counties memorabila, but more importantly the memories of over 150 trips I went on with great mates,which was the Legend of the Northern Counties.
Please get in touch with your memories, its our website, to share these recollections.