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Boost for Fenland loco group as box of tea sells for £130 at auction

An unexpected delivery has led to an auction lot which sky rocketed beyond expectations.

When the leader of a Fenland group dedicated to bringing a locomotive back to the railways exchanged emails with a tea company, he got more than he bargained for.

Peter Wright, of the Cambridgeshire and Fenland group of the B17 Steam Locomotive Trust (B17SLT), contacted Taylors of Harrogate, owners of Yorkshire Tea, when his daughter decided to take her own supply of her favourite hot drink with her during her travels to Northern India.

Taylors of Harrogate sent this box of teabags to The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust. (36870680)
Taylors of Harrogate sent this box of teabags to The B17 Steam Locomotive Trust. (36870680)

Peter’s daughter, Vanessa, travelled to Assam and Darjeeling, known for their own tea, but couldn’t be without her beloved teabags, much to the amusement of her father who thought the brand’s owners would be pleased to hear the tale.

Peter said: “My daughter travelled with her husband and some friends to India last autumn and they took a supply of the tea bags with them to ensure they got a decent brew.

“Talk about taking coals to Newcastle!"

“I thought it would amuse the company and, after a humorous exchange of emails with Taylor’s of Harrogate, they sent a complimentary box of 480 tea bags!”

The gift was intended to be used as part of a raffle during the B17SLT’s annual members and supporters day out.

However, as the event was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis it was decided to auction the tea bags by email among the Fenland members.

Peter said: “I only anticipated that we’d get £20 for it.

“Bidding began at a modest £2.50 and steadily rose to £10 and then £15.

“Then the serious bidding began at £60 and then a rival bid of £70 came in.

“These two gentlemen then slugged it out until the tea was knocked down for £130, leading to a phenomenal result for which the trust thanks its local members.”

The money raised will be put towards the group’s work on a large project to build and operate a LNER Class B17 4-6-0 express passenger steam locomotive, to be known as 61673 SPIRIT OF SANDRINGHAM, for mainline and heritage railway use. For information, visit www.b17steamloco.com

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