Bristol heroes celebrated with train naming

Wednesday 18th April 2018

New Intercity Express Train (800020) named after CLIC founder Bob Woodward and city archivist Elizabeth Ralph

Great Western Railway (GWR) has paid tribute to Bristolians Bob Woodward and Elizabeth Ralph, naming one of its new trains after the pair.

Bob Woodward, founder of the children’s charity CLIC, was present with his family at Bristol Temple Meads station as his name was applied to the Intercity Express Train, 800020, in front of him.

Former colleagues of the late Bristol city archivist Elizabeth Ralph and current Bristol Archives employees joined Bob Woodward as the city archivist, who served Bristol for over 30 years, was also honoured. Mr Woodward said:

“I feel extremely proud and humbled to have been nominated as one of GWR’s 100 Great Westerners. It is an added thrill, and something I could never have imagined, that a gleaming new engine will be called after me!

“Whilst it is my personal name that will feature, I am conscious of the enormous input of so many into the creation of the CLIC trust over 40 years ago which has gone on to become the largest children’s cancer charity in the UK, and of the work of the wonderful Starfish Trust where I have been fortunate enough to spend many happy years supporting children with disabilities.”

Bob Woodward next to a GWR IET

Laura Pye, Head of Culture for Bristol City Council, said:

“Elizabeth Ralph served as City Archivist in Bristol for over three decades. At the start of her career, she worked to protect Bristol's historic records from bombing during the Blitz.

“In the years that followed, she preserved records of many Bristol institutions and became well known and respected as both an archivist and a scholar. We're proud to continue Miss Ralph's work at Bristol Archives and delighted that she has received this honour.”

Mr Woodward, a successful property developer, had his life changed in 1974 when his eight-year-old son Robert was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing the limited options available, he created a setting where families could be together while their child was treated – CLIC was born.

Miss Ralph, a city archivist to Bristol City Council for more than three decades, was praised for her organisation and securing significant collections of the city’s history. She also went on to become the first female chairman of the Council of the Society of Archivists and general secretary of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, a post she held for 38 years before becoming president.

Elizabeth Ralph friends and family next to a GWR IET

GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“I am delighted that we can honour both Bob and Elizabeth with this train naming, two heroes of Bristol that helped shape and define the local area.

“Bob has been a genuine hero of charity work, raising over a £100 million for great causes and Elizabeth is regarded by many as one of most important and influential women in Bristol’s history.

“Both are inspirational figures, deservedly featuring in our 100 Great Westerners, and being celebrated on our new Intercity Express Trains.”

GWR’s Intercity Express Trains entered service on 16 October 2017 and are being named after individuals and organisations that have inspired the regions that they serve – 50 of which will be taken from the 100 Great Westerners list.

The new trains have 100 more seats than the High Speed Train they replace, and from early next year will almost double the frequency of services between Bristol and London Paddington and reduce journey times.

To date they have successfully completed over a million miles in passenger service, providing an estimated 500,000 additional seats.

Notes to editors

The Coins

Each Intercity Express Train set will feature two dedications – one for each leading power car. Each dedication will be accompanied by a commemorative coin on the leading car of each train. The coin’s front face is specifically designed to reflect the name it represents, while the reverse will carry a standard Great Western Railway Design.

The Bob Woodward coin celebrates his work in establishing CLIC in 1976, which later merged with Sargent Cancer Care for Children to form CLIC Sargent. The flower, which was featured as part of CLIC Sargent’s logo before the 2017 rebrand, has become symbolic for the charity and all the great work that it does to support young people with cancer.

The Elizabeth Ralph coin pays homage to the iconic Bristol City Hall – her place of work for over 30 years, with its distinctive curved shape, grand arches and the pathways that intersect across College Green. Built in 1956, it is situated opposite the Cathedral and sits at the bottom of Park Street. It was the home of the Bristol Archives until they moved to the former ‘B Bond’ Warehouse by Bristol Harbour.

Bob Woodward OBE

In 1974 Bob Woodward was a successful property developer when his eight-year-old son Robert was diagnosed with cancer.

Seeing what few resources were in place for children and their parents at the time, Woodward created a setting where families could be together while their child was treated.

Woodward went on to found charity CLIC (Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood) in 1976, which later merged with Sargent Cancer Care for Children to form CLIC Sargent.

Woodward was also chief executive to The Starfish Trust, for which he still fundraises despite retiring in 2013.

In 2011, he was given a Lifetime Achievement award for his charitable work at the Pride of Britain Awards and received an OBE in 2014.

Elizabeth Ralph

Elizabeth Ralph became archives clerk to Bristol City Council in 1937, rising to city archivist two years later. She remained in this post for more than three decades and was praised for her organisation and securing significant collections relating to the city’s history.

Ralph helped protect the archives during the Bristol Blitz of the Second World War.

Her public offices included first female chairman of the Council of the Society of Archivists and general secretary of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, a post she held for 38 years before becoming president.

She also wrote several works on the archives and history of the city.

To mark International Women’s Day in 2017, the Bristol Post named Ralph among the city’s top 100 women.