Football loving five year old will be youngest ever to have name on GWR train

Thursday 24th September 2020

BBC and Great Western Railway celebrate Make a Difference Superstars

A football-loving five-year-old from Oxfordshire is to become the youngest person to have their name on the side of a Great Western Railway train. 

Didcot Town superfan Lincoln Callaghan has been chosen as a BBC Make a Difference Superstar for selflessly helping others at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also chosen for GWR train-name fame is ‘The Lady in Pink’ Jo Prosser, who masterminded a project in Bicester to provide one million meals for NHS frontline staff. 

The pair were selected by judges following a link-up between the BBC and train operator GWR to celebrate those community heroes who have been going above and beyond over the past six months.

Now plans are being made for their names to be added to either end of a high-speed Intercity Express Train. 

 Photo of football loving Lincoln Callaghan who got his reward for cycling and rasing £3500 for Didcot Town
Football crazy: Lincoln Callaghan got on his bike to help raise more than £3,500 for Didcot Town

Didcot Town, known as The Railwaymen, launched an appeal at the beginning of April to raise £10,000 to help ends meet during the pandemic.

Lincoln asked dad Chris if they could do a cycle ride to help raise funds and their month-long 100k challenge helped to raise more than £2,250. The duo then started an online scratchard competition which raised a further £1,000.

The youngster has been an inspiration to all at the Southern League club, lifting spirits as The Railwaymen fight to remain a valuable part of the community. 

Selfless Jo Prosser had to leave behind her husband and much-loved dog in Lincolnshire for four months to spearhead a Salute the NHS project in Bicester co-founded by Ron Dennis CBE, founder of F1 team McLaren.

As lead operations director, Jo worked tirelessly to coordinate 800 volunteers to deliver one million meals, boxes, bags and 75,000 soothe and care packs to the NHS. She showed her full array of skills, from driving a forklift to managing orders, packing boxes and liaising with all the teams involved.

Always working with a smile, Jo proved an inspirational leader, setting up visits with potential partners, key celebrities and even a Royal guest.

Jo Prosser from Bicester who is organising 1 million meals for NHS support staff.

GWR Interim Managing Director Matthew Golton said:  
 
“The GWR has a long and proud history of naming trains after Great Westerners – past and present heroes from across our network – and to that list now we can add the names of Lincoln Callaghan and Jo Prosser.
 
“It has been a privilege to partner with the BBC Make a Difference campaign and learn more about people like Lincoln and Jo, who have helped to make such a huge difference in their communities during the pandemic. 
 
“Listening to BBC local radio we were particularly overwhelmed by the stories of these two winners and I hope our train-naming ceremonies will serve as a fitting tribute to them.”
BBC Oxford was one of nine local radio stations to team up with GWR and the names of 18 Make a Difference Superstars will adorn its high-speed trains. 

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said

“I have been blown away by the efforts of all the Covid-19 heroes during the course of the pandemic. Their dedication and compassion has been truly heart-warming, and made a huge difference in their communities. 

“These trains will be a lasting reminder of all those who have gone the extra mile to keep this country going.”

Stephanie Marshall, head of the BBC in the West and South West, said

“The pandemic may have been the worst of times for many of us, but it has brought out the best in so many people.
 
“Since lockdown began nearly two million listeners have contacted their BBC local radio station either looking for help, or in many cases offering it out through the Make a Difference campaign. 
 
“The stories of local heroism have helped put a smile on faces across the country and I’m incredibly proud that our local radio teams played a part in that.”
  
With more people starting to use trains again operators are reminding passengers to:  

  • plan ahead – travel at quieter times where they can, buy a ticket online and in advance, and book ahead if you need travel assistance
  • consider others – wear a face covering unless you’re exempt, not travelling if you have Covid symptoms and consider others, not all disabilities can be seen
  • stay safe – maintaining your distance wherever possible; wash your hands and carry hand sanitiser, paying contactless where you can.
GWR has been providing rail services throughout the pandemic and has worked to ensure that these are as safe as possible. This includes increased cleaning regimes and the use of a virucidal spray; extra staff at key stations to offer help and guidance; and processes in place to help customers maintain a safe distance where possible such as restricting the number of reservations available.  

Notes to editors 
 
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England. 
 
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.