NRM FRIENDS GROUP PAYS TRIBUTE TO LIFELONG SUPPORTER
Michael Wallace, respected honorary secretary of the Friends of the National Railway Museum, died on October 25 aged 86, writes PHILIP BENHAM.
Born and brought up in Northallerton, a few hundred yards from the East Coast Main Line, he soon became familiar with the sounds of steam. He was particularly fond of the ‘A4s’ chime whistles as they raced past on the LNER’s York to Darlington racetrack.
Michael joined the FNRM as a life member at its inception in 1977, two years after the York museum had opened. Following retirement, he became an active volunteer, and assistant secretary soon after.
Among his many achievements, Michael was, for many years, editor of the Friends’ quarterly magazine Review. He was also involved in a number of major Friends projects organised in relation to NRM locomotives, several including fund-raising appeals in partnership with Steam Railway. These included the streamlining of Duchess of Hamilton, the return to steam of Oliver Cromwell, vacuum brakes for Flying Scotsman, restoration of the correct tender for Stirling ‘Single’ No. 1 and the repainting of Dominion of Canada for the ‘Great Gathering’ in 2013.
Despite his self-effacing nature, Michael was proud to receive an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2011.
It was perhaps a fitting finale that just a week before his death, Michael attended the director’s annual dinner at the NRM – where an in-steam Flying Scotsman was also a guest – an evening he thoroughly enjoyed.