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Virgin Trains' Thunderbird Nameplates Are Go-ne

LONDON, January 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

The sale of two Thunderbird nameplates from Virgin Trains' Class 57 locomotives has helped raise much needed funds for The Alzheimer's Society.

     (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140124/666616 )

Run in association with The Railway Magazine, Britain's number one railway title, the auction of both Parker and Tin Tin nameplates realised over £4000. With an additional contribution from Virgin Trains, a cheque for £5000 was presented to Jamie Anderson, whose father Gerry was the creator of the popular television programme Thunderbirds.

Speaking at the presentation event, Jamie said, "My dad did a great deal to support Alzheimer's Society in his final year with us and believed it to be incredibly important that we raise awareness of dementia and help people understand that it is a condition that can happen to anyone.

"There are 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK and 1 in 3 of us over the age of 65 will develop this incurable disease. So it's vital that we do what we can to raise funds to support and care for those living with dementia and also fund research that hopefully will one day find a cure.

"The Alzheimer's Society was a huge help and support to my dad and the rest of the family so I'm delighted that the money raised from the sale of the Thunderbirds plates will support their vital work. It seems like such a fitting tribute!"

Joining Jamie at the event at London Euston were the lucky auction winners Melvyn Smith and Steve Davies.

Virgin Trains Communication Manager, Richard Stanton added: "The Alzheimer's Society does such fantastic work up and down the country helping both patients and families to deal with the effects of dementia. Gerry was very supportive when we originally came up with the idea of naming our trains after the characters from Thunderbirds so it felt only right that we should donate any monies raised from the sale of the nameplates to such a worthy cause."

Chris Milner of the Railway Magazine said: "It was a fantastic gesture from Virgin Trains to have donated the nameplates and we were only too delighted to help. The response from our readers was overwhelming and we would like to thank them for their support."

If you aren't able to purchase a plate but would still like to support Alzheimer's Society in memory of Gerry, you can make a donation, no matter how small, at http://www.justgiving.com/RememberingGerryAnderson.

You can also read more about the story in the next issue of The Railway Magazine (due on sale 5 February 2014).

Photograph caption (from left to right)
Richard Stanton (Virgin Trains)
Melvyn Smith
Jamie Anderson
Steve Davies
Chris Milner (The Railway Magazine)

Notes to Editors

Visit our Media Room website - http://www.virgintrains.com/mediaroom - for the latest news, press releases and the company factsheet. To receive our content live, as and when we publish it, you can sign up to follow us. Go to Follow Virgin Trains and click on 'Create account'. You can view stakeholder news in the latest edition of The Red Letter at http://www.virgintrains.newsweaver.com/newsletter.

Virgin Trains has revolutionised rail travel by creating a high speed, high frequency service that has cut journey times and made rail journeys more comfortable. It has operated the West Coast passenger train franchise since 1997, serving key UK cities including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Glasgow. 

Virgin Trains is the brand name of Virgin Rail Group (VRG), which is owned 51 percent by Virgin Group and 49 percent by Stagecoach. The Department for Transport (DfT) has awarded VRG a franchise contract, which started on 9 December 2012 and was initially due to run for up to 23 months. The Transport Secretary announced on 26 March 2013 that it will be extended until April 2017, when a new long-term West Coast franchise is expected to start.

Virgin Trains has been recognised in numerous awards. In October 2013 Business Traveller magazine readers voted the company the Best UK Domestic Rail Operator for the seventh year running. In 2011 the company was named Best Rail Operator in the Group Leisure Awards (which it also won in 2009 and 2010). In 2011 Virgin Trains won the British Quality Foundation's Achievement Award for Customer Satisfaction.  

Customers consistently rate the company the top long-distance rail franchise operator, as measured by the National Passenger Survey (NPS) run by industry watchdog Passenger Focus. In the most recent NPS (Autumn 2013) overall satisfaction was 91%, meaning the company has remained unbeaten over nine successive surveys in the long-distance franchise category.

Virgin Trains first achieved Investors In People accreditation in 2007 and this was renewed in 2010; the IIP Gold award was achieved in 2011 and again in October 2013. In May 2013 Virgin Trains renewed its accreditation against the criteria of the European Foundation for Quality Management's (EFQM) Excellence Model, which it originally achieved in May 2011. The company's Learning and Development team won a National Training Awards 2011 West Midlands award for its Coaching Culture programme.

For more information about Virgin Trains visit the company's website http://www.virgintrains.com or the Media Room website http://www.virgintrains.com/mediaroom.

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