Press Release – Friday 10 July 2020

Rob Bell ‘Walking Britain’s Lost Railways’ named Patron of Campaign for Borders Rail

The Campaign for Borders Rail is delighted to announce that television presenter, engineer and adventurer, Rob Bell is to be the lobby group’s first appointed patron. Rob is one of the best known faces on British and international television, for his many series of enthusiastic explorations of natural wonders and engineering marvels all over the world. His patronage brings that enthusiasm to the Campaign, and brings the Campaign to a whole new audience.

Rob captured the hearts of the Borders with his presentation of the recent Channel Five series Walking Britain’s Lost Railways. The finale, and most watched edition, featured the Borders Railway and the former Waverley Route, and brought the case for extending the line to a new audience of almost two million viewers. Rob travelled the Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank and then embarked on the trek from there, all the way to Carlisle, exploring the heritage of the region and meeting Borderers all along the way.

Rob Bell:  “I was really taken but the passion and enthusiasm of the people,” said Rob. “The culture and heritage of the region is unique, and the people have real pride in their communities. There’s a sense of identity coupled with a healthy rivalry between communities. The region deserves every opportunity to bring that pride of place to as many people as possible, and the Campaign for Borders Rail is a project that can make that happen.
Rob Bell:  “It seems to me that the Borders craves this missing part of its heritage; the railway that connected all those communities together and contributed to unifying the Borders more than anything else for over a century. I’m honoured to be a patron of the Campaign for Borders Rail and look forward to playing my part in achieving that goal of reconnection.”
Rob was introduced to the Campaign by Fintan McGuire, the Head of Popular Factual at Rumpus Media, who made the TV series ‘Walking Britain’s Lost Railways’. Fintan said: “We’ve of course had a lot of interest generated by Walking Britain’s Lost Railways, but Simon’s approach on behalf of the Campaign for Borders Rail was quite unique. 

Fintan McGuire:  “I knew Simon and Rob had got along very well on the shoot for the show, and Rob and the crew had said how much they enjoyed the visit. When Simon approached me, I was more than happy to help shake hands on the deal. This episode as much as any epitomised all that excites us about the series. It is a great engineering feat, built though some outstanding landscapes, connecting communities and was a pleasure to film.”

Simon Walton:  “The Campaign has worked hard to take the message of the Borders Railway and the Borders to a national audience, and prove that the new Waverley Route will be an asset to the community, the region and the nation. Having Rob Bell on board as our patron takes that up a level, and gives the Campaign an ambassador that will help introduce a whole new audience to the ambitions we share, to make the Borders everything it can be, by building a new railway and making the Borders a better place for generations to come.”

For further comment, contact Simon Walton on 07540 313018