The National Traction Engine Trust

How on earth did we get to mid October so quickly?

Frightening isn't it. The season is over and the nights are drawing in. Soon we'll all be desperately trying to pretend we are not in when the Trick or Treaters come knocking, followed by reassuring pets and nervous family members that those noises you keep hearing every night are only fireworks before we go back to our avoidance tactics once more to combat the local choir or not so angelic youngsters attempting to sing seasonal songs on your doorstep.

In between all of that many an engine owner and crew member will be draining down engines, oiling up and putting their prized possessions to sleep in anticipation for Spring and the 2016 event season that will follow. Some hardy souls will keep going, through the winter and into the new year admittedly but for the most part the sight, sound and smell of steam on the road will be but a memory for most.

It's been a funny old year with lots of things going on, both good and bad. Plenty of 'incidents' have occurred that have brought our hobby under a spotlight with a slightly wider beam than usual, and we have been there as an organisation of choice for many to assist and fend off the soothsayers and those that would like to point the finger at the steam community as a whole, as opposed to focusing on each 'incident' individually.

When an 'incident' happens, it's funny how quickly the PR Inbox lights up. Everyone wants a quote or an explanation. I personally take the line that we do not comment on individual incidents or accidents. We would rather gather all the facts rather than the here say, then make a considered appraisal of anything that may be learnt and only then pass on the information.

Shutting the doors though is not an option. We continue to be open about things to those that may look into our world from behind a fence, as much as we continue to offer assistance to those that are looking from the inside out - even those that sit on the proverbial fence get the interaction they relish these days.

With the National Traction Engine Trust AGM just around the corner, the launch of a book in the form of 'The Steam Scene Vol.6' and a long hard look at itself by the General Council, the Winter months are not going to be dull in the slightest. There is much on the horizon and plenty to talk about both good and bad. We will of course be focusing on the good in the public eye, but rest assured if any members have a quibble, they would like to get off their chest - the PR Team are here to assist.

Speaking of the 'team'. As my first year as 'Head of Communications', I have with the best intentions been promising all sorts to lots of people - but I am aware that I haven't always delivered as I should. Several factors have been responsible for this, none more than a three year old son (come on he gets the blame for everything nowadays). However, it's no excuse really. I have people who have put their hands in the air, and I haven't used them as they should have been, for this I offer my apologies.

So this year we have had plenty to be happy about on the rally fields, and for the most part the warm glow emanating from the Trust continues to carry our various messages in the right way. Ideas are plentiful and over the coming months we should start to see some rewards from the seeds that have already been planted.

As ever, the office door is open and nothing and no one is excluded from the table for discussion. The PR Team will continue to promote the Trust to the best of it's ability. We are open to suggestions, criticisms and of course help. We are here to help you, the Trust and the hobby as a whole.

Matt Shipton (Head of Public Relations & Communications)


20 Oct 2015