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Tributes to Swanage Railway campaigner Monavyn Moss
TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman whose determination prevented a road replacing a heritage railway in Dorset.
Monavyn Moss, of Corfe Castle, led a campaign in the 1970s and 1980s against efforts to build a bypass on the then disused trackbed through the village. If a road had been built, it would have halted any moves to extend the Swanage Railway which is now thriving as a tourist attraction and heritage centre.
Following her death at 94, tributes have been paid to Mrs Moss, who was known as Monni. Swanage Railway Trust chairman Liz Sellen said: “Everyone on the Swanage Railway is very saddened to hear of Monni’s death.
“Without Monni’s determined campaigning work, there would not be the Swanage Railway that so many people enjoy today because the line would only have been relaid three miles.
“A bypass on the trackbed through Corfe Castle would have meant that the Norden park and ride scheme could not have been built. The railway would not have been connected to the national railway system.”
Mrs Moss lived for many years at Challow Farm near Corfe’s railway station.
The Corfe Castle Eastern Preservation Group, which she formed, was a pressure group fighting for the building of a bypass around the west side of the village, rather than along the disused railway which was lifted in 1972. That was the official route for a bypass after Dorset County Council purchased the land.
Swanage Railway founder member and volunteer Peter Frost said: “Monni was determined to give the councils a clear understanding of the feelings of a significant proportion of local people as well as the implications of a bypass being built on the railway.”
He added: “Monni was a very special lady who was prepared to raise her head above the parapet and lead a fight for her community, a fight without which the Swanage Railway as we now know it would not exist.
“With the shelving of long-term plans for a Corfe Castle bypass, Dorset County Council offered a lease of the trackbed to the Swanage Railway. The rest is history.”