A NEW £750,000 appeal is underway at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR).

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and it also marks 70 years since a steam locomotive was built in order to help the war effort.

The locomotive at the centre of the appeal is a War Department Austerity No 3672 – Dame Vera Lynn. After completion at the North British Loco works in Glasgow, it was used in Europe and the Middle East after D-Day.

The locomotive’s post-war years were spent in Greece where it remained until it was repatriated in the 1980s. She returned to steam on the Lavender Line, where Dame Vera named the locomotive in August 1986. Shortly afterwards it found a permanent home on the NYMR, clocking up more than 100,000 miles in the next 10 years.

The locomotive has not run since October 1998 but now the plan is to get her back on track.

The recently-formed Fight for Vera Fund is made up of both regular volunteers and paid staff, who work at the heritage line.

Theaims is to raise money towards the overhaul of the locomotive and return to steam of a locomotive based on the popular railway. Providing the appeal is a success, it is hoped a start can be made within the next year or two, as the fund are hoping to have the overhaul completed by 2019 so that Dame Vera Lynnso she can steam again by her 75th anniversary.

Any donation will be appreciated. The Fund do urge you to give as generously as possible to this worthy appeal, so this grand old lady can steam again!

Getting the loco back in to traffic would mean another NYMR loco is available, rather than hiring another one in at great expense. The benefits of this are clear to see, a trust asset is doing what it was designed to do, pull trains full of fare paying passengers, not languishing in a siding.

The Fight for Vera Fund would also like to see the locomotive become a national memorial to the people from the Austerity years. It was those people who built it during a time of international hardship. We hope that, providing agreements can be reached, “Dame Vera Lynn” can visit various preserved railways and other places relevant to the locomotives history, once it is again operational.

So far the fund has raised about £5,000. The fundraisers are currently planning and running more events, including various stalls at special event weekends, a raffle, a Dame Vera Lynn beer and looking at expanding the merchandise that is sold to raise money.

If you would like to donate to the appeal, or get involved in fundraising, then visit the Fight for Vera Fund Facebook page at dameveralynn.co.uk or visit justgiving.com/dvl3672