Jon Honeysett, Inland Waterways Association North Staffordshire & South Cheshire branch Navigation Officer, has been made an MBE in the New Year Honours list for his services to rail in Kidsgrove where he also promotes canal initiatives.
He is pictured above (wearing the cap) taking over the challenge from volunteer colleague Ken Marek - running branch’s popular “Nail Game” at Stone Food & Drink Festival, Staffordshire. (Photo: Julie Arnold, Waterway Images)(Click the picture for a larger image)
Jon is a member of Kidsgrove Environmental Watch Response Group; they are delighted that their fellow volunteer has been recognised for championing the campaign to reinstate the “stopping service” from Stafford to Manchester.
An hourly train service between Stoke-on-Trent and Manchester, stopping at Kidsgrove, was reintroduced in December 2008 (having ceased 15 years previously), along with the launch of hourly trains between London and Crewe, also serving Kidsgrove. Both new services were welcomed by the community as being hugely important ways to stimulate the North Staffordshire economy, bring people to the area and help residents win jobs in the cities.
Jon’s branch colleague, volunteer Steve Wood lives afloat and regularly uses stations in the vicinity of canals; he was one of the first to congratulate Jon on his award, commenting, “I think of Jon every time I use Kidsgrove station, which is actually quite often given that it has more trains than almost anywhere else in the area.”
Jon has a strong and very successful volunteer track record, having campaigned to bring about the construction of a brand new station in Hampshire at Hedge End. Opened in 1990 it is now used by 2 million people per year, serving the community that has grown along the rail route between Eastleigh and Portsmouth, as thousands of houses have been built since 1984. He was also instrumental in the reopening of Chandlers Ford station, 40 years on from it being ‘cut by Beeching’ in 1963.
Jon and his wife Sarah moved to Talke Pits, just north of Stoke-on-Trent, in 2003 and joined their local branch of The Inland Waterways Association in 2004. They soon became familiar faces at social activities and helping out at events; in the last year they have become even more actively involved in campaigning, taking on the roles of branch Navigation Officer and joint Publicity Officer respectively.
Jon is passionate about the importance of good transport links and the role they play in the attractiveness of an area. A keen boater, he has also forged links between IWA and Kidsgrove Town Council, to focus on the area to the north of Harecastle Tunnel and around the junction of the Trent & Mersey and Macclesfield. Further news about the campaign to upgrade the railway footbridge and other Kidsgrove Waterfront initiatives is expected in spring 2013.
Jon Honeysett, 70-year-old RAF veteran from Talke Pits, is also involved with North Staffordshire Pensioners' Convention and is a member The Spitfire Society. Before moving to Staffordshire, Jon lived in Hampshire – having moved down from London in 1947, aged five. He served as an armourer in the R.A.F. (1959/63); as an ambulanceman with Hampshire Ambulance Service (16 years); and for British Railways, Southern Region, at the former South Western Division H.Q. at Wimbledon, then London Bridge, Euston, and Waterloo, on Network Southeast major projects.
Julie Arnold, joint Publicity Officer, IWA Stoke-on-Trent.