THE founders of a campaign to save the world’s oldest Railway Institute say they are moving in the right direction.

Fred Langley, son of Shildon Railway Institute’s former treasurer, John Langley, is one of three directors of a new CIC set up to bring the Institute back from the brink.

He joins Shildon Town Councillor Dave Reynolds and Susan Clarke, who together make up the Shildon Heritage Alliance CIC.

Mr Langley said: “When I found out the Institute was within 12 months of closing I felt that because of all of the work my father had put it, I had to do something.

“In those days the committee was very active and my dad put in a lot of effort. He would have been sad to see how the Institute is now.”

Mr Reynolds added: “The three of us met with the committee and put all of our cards on the table and explained that we would like to step in to help and they were very gracious about it. We’re pleased to be working alongside the committee.

“But it’s not just about the Institute, Shildon Heritage Alliance (SHA) is not just the three of us, there are about a dozen of us altogether and we are working to save the town’s heritage. We’ve done a lot of research and what we have come up with is a five-year plan.”

The SHA’s next steps include having the building surveyed and deciding the best order to tackle renovations.

Shildon Railway Institute was founded in 1833 and moved into the current building in 1911.

Earlier this year at an annual general meeting it emerged that the Institute would close in 2020, which prompted the launch of the SOS: Save Out Stute, now the Shildon Heritage Alliance.

Mr Reynolds added: “There has always been a degree of mystique about the institute, some people don’t know exactly what it’s for. It was once only for the families of the railway workers but now it’s a community building. Our goal now is to say to people look, we have this huge beautiful building that has all of this potential, help us bring it back to life. We’re moving in the right direction.”

The next event at the Institute will be a reunion of Shildon Railway workers on October 5. Search Save our Stute on Facebook.