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11 months ago

Schoolboys raise £5k to rebuild arson-hit signal box which featured in James Bond movie Octopussy

Two schoolboy James Bond fans are moon-raking in cash to help rebuild a historic signal box which featured in the movie Octopussy after it was destroyed by arsonists.

Oliver Walker and his friend Harry Cowley, both 12, were heartbroken when they discovered yobs had torched Orton Mere signal box near their homes.

The century-old structure is one of the oldest signal boxes in the UK and featured in James Bond movie Octopussy in 1983 starring Roger Moore.

Vandals burned it down on Monday (12/3) when they broke into Nene Valle Railway near Peterborough, Cambs.

Oliver and Harry, who admit to being “huge James Bond fans”, have launched an online appeal to save the signal box.

Within a days their JustGiving campaign raised more than £5,000.

The lads have also vowed to walk the entire 10-and-a-half mile stretch of the Nene Valley Railway to raise even more funds.

Harry, whose godmother runs a model railway shop, said: “I found out about the arson attack on Monday after my friend sent me a photo.

“I was instantly in tears and went down to see it.

“When I got there, I Facetimed Oliver to show him and he burst into tears too.

“We were both so devastated about it and wanted to do what we could to help so this is when we launched our fundraising pages.

“I love trains. I got my first model train when I was two months old, and my favourite model train is the Flying Scotsman.

“I love watching the trains go by and usually take videos to be uploaded onto mine and Harry’s YouTube channel.

“Me and Oliver are James Bond fans, especially Octopussy which was filmed at Nene Valley.”

The arson attack follows a string of incidents that happened across Orton between Sunday (12/3) and Monday (13/3).

Alongside the signal box, several cars were set alight and destroyed in the surrounding area.

Oliver, whose great-grandfather worked as a train driver, said: “Me and Harry were both gutted when we heard about the signal post and are very sad and disappointed at what those people did.

“We hope our money can help make a difference and repair the signal post.

“Me and Harry are train obsessed and love going round to each other’s houses to watch our model trains on the tracks.

“My favourite train is the Sir Nigel Gresley train and it was meant to be coming to Nene Valley at Easter but now I don’t know if this is possible with the broken signal box.”

Harry’s mum Jennier, 36, said she was overwhelmed by the boys determination to fundraise and get the signal box repaired.

The mum-of-three said: “I was overwhelmed that the boys wanted to do something to help.

“Me and Oliver’s mum Sarah are both very proud of the boys and all the money they have raised so far.

“They want to turn a negative into a positive and do something for the community.

“A lot of people from all over the country visit Nene Valley Railway and so they wanted to help in any way they could.

“We both think what they’re doing is amazing and wish them both look on their fundraising walk.”
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