Model engine dedicated to Captain Tom raises huge amount for NHS hospital heroes

Simon Kohler from Hornby

By Liz Crudgington

Projects to benefit staff and patients are on the right track after a ‘freighty’ donation from model train manufacturer Hornby Hobbies.

The Margate-based firm have gifted a total of £140,000 to East Kent Hospitals Charity, from sales of their limited-edition locomotive dedicated to Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Only 500 of the 66 731 locomotive ‘Captain Tom Moore – A True British Inspiration’ were originally planned but, due to massive demand, 3,500 were actually produced.  The 00-guage engine is a replica of GB Railfreight’s engine dedicated to 100-year-old Captain Sir Tom, who raised more than £32million for the NHS by walking around his garden during the first wave of the pandemic.

Photo John Horton

The first 2,500 sold out within 48 hours and the total sales raised £140,000, which will be used for the benefit of staff and patients at the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate.

Simon Kohler, Marketing and Product Development Director, said: “We at Hornby would like to extend our sheer thanks and gratitude to everyone who bought one of our Captain Tom locomotives.

“As a company we have never experienced a reaction that the launch of this model created, which only goes to show how passionate we all feel about the dedication that all those who make up the NHS continue to illustrate. We thank you.”

The donation was added to East Kent Hospital Charity’s Helping Your Hospitals Appeal, launched at the start of the pandemic. To date it has raised almost £250,000 from local communities and businesses, as well as grants of £152,000 from NHS Charities Together, as a proportion of the money raised by Captain Tom.

It has been used to develop wellbeing spaces and fund trauma resilience workshops for frontline staff, as well as providing smaller items which have made a huge difference. These include fridges for staff wearing PPE to keep cold drinks in, and regular healthy snacks and treats for teams working across East Kent Hospitals.

Chief executive Susan Acott, said: “We are delighted and humbled to receive this donation from Hornby Hobbies, and so thankful for their support of our staff and patients.

“It is so heartening to receive donations like this and to know businesses like Hornby Hobbies are thinking of us.

“We have exciting plans to develop a new Clinical Trials Unit at the hospital and this donation may be used to progress this project, which at the moment is in the early stages of development.

“We look forward to sharing our plans with Hornby Hobbies when they are confirmed and we are grateful to the company and everyone who bought one of the limited edition engines.”

You can find out more about how to support East Kent Hospitals Charity, here:


  1. Congratulations to all involved, especially all who bought an engine. This how things SHOULD always be, but unfortunately doesn’t normally. Well done all again.

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