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Author Topic: Julie Boston, FoSBR stalwart, RIP  (Read 722 times)
grahame
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« on: October 28, 2022, 05:30:50 am »

From Bernard Kennedy on Facebook.

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I have just heard some very sad news. Julie Boston transport campaigner, long time activist in Friends Of Bristol Suburban Rail, 88 has recently suffered a massive heart attack whilst out on a 5 mile walk. She is home from hospital now and receiving palliative care! She is and had been a life long trade union member and was a teacher before she retired. She was a great friend to the Bristol Rail Unions, particularly ASLEF» (Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen - about) and the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers).  Many train drivers and guards/conductors got their jobs through her persistent campaigning for a better train service in the Bristol Area. Julie spoke at the ASLEF National Conference in Bristol in 2017. I wish and hope that Julie can recover from this heart attack. Sending loads and love and best wishes to Julie and her family at this difficult time.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2022, 10:51:45 am by Red Squirrel » Logged

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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2022, 07:58:49 am »

Stalwart or Steward? (In subject)
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froome
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2022, 06:39:41 pm »

Sad news I'm afraid. I heard from a close friend of hers that she died last night. Apparently it was a peaceful end with her family there.
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2022, 06:50:00 pm »

Sadly, yes, Julie passed away last night - 28th October.

Julie was a dynamo of activity and one of activists - perhaps in earlier times they key activist - in the Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, who are preparing a fuller tribute to her which I will link to or copy here as appropriate.

I have known Julie for many years. Always friendly, always out there when a campaign needed support lending a hand and looking to work to help persuade the powers that be to provide more services - from an active political background that was so left wing it made Jeremy Corbyn look moderate. Her view was that the railways should run more services to employ more people (and the passengers would follow) rather than for the passengers (and jobs would follow), but readers will note that the two combine to a shared goal.

I'll be following up further and look forward to others posting their memories of Julie
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2022, 12:43:58 pm »

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Julie Boston 1934-2022



FoSBR» (Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways - site) are saddened to hear of the death of founder member Julie Boston. Julie died on 28th October 2022, at the age of 88, after a short illness.

FoSBR was formed in 1995 as Friends of the Severn Beach Railway to protest against the potential demise of the Severn Beach line. Services on this single-track branch line in Bristol had been reduced, with many trains replaced by buses.

FoSBR’s first action was on 25th September 1995. Residents met at Avonmouth railway station with buggies and bicycles to show that buses were not a suitable substitute for trains.

Vocal campaigner

Julie picked up the campaign reins with a view to not only saving but improving the train service. She became a familiar face at Bristol City Council meetings, then later WECA» (West of England Combined Authority - about) meetings, making a vocal case for local rail.

In 2007, following pressure from FoSBR and others, Bristol City Council agreed to fund extra services on the Severn Beach Line for an initial three years. Passenger numbers immediately rose by 60%, and double-digit growth continued until Covid.

In 2020, despite the Covid restrictions, Julie and friends managed to celebrate FoSBR’s 25th anniversary by organising small group outings by train – the “FoSBR Sixes”.

In 2021, a long-held ambition was achieved when the Severn Beach Line moved onto a largely half-hourly timetable, Monday to Saturday as far as Avonmouth, hourly to Severn Beach.

Julie was very pleased with the direct service from Severn Beach Line stations to Weston-super-Mare. She encouraged many groups to make the trip with her.

Indomitable enthusiasm

Her interests were not confined to trains. She also campaigned for public footpaths, public libraries, public toilets, and buses. Ideally an event or action or walk would encompass several of these campaign strands, and involve a creative element such as poetry, banners, fancy dress or music.

Many FoSBR members were inspired to get involved by Julie’s indomitable enthusiasm, through both campaign disappointments and successes. FoSBR would not exist today without her cajoling and charm.

Farewell Julie! We will miss your stubbornness, energy and imaginative campaigning spirit.

FoSBR, now known as Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways, will continue to campaign for rail at the core of an integrated transport network for Bristol, Bath and the West of England.

We send our condolences to Julie’s family.  See our Flickr photo album for some favourite pictures of Julie.
Source: FoSBR
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2022, 01:21:44 pm »

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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2022, 07:36:44 pm »

The Bristol Post has published an obituary of Julie:

https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/tributes-julie-boston-after-death-7824526
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« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2022, 06:54:53 am »

Bump.  I am going to be on my way in an hour or so ... bus and train to Sea Mills.
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« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2022, 08:03:43 am »

I’ll see you this afternoon then!
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« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2022, 08:41:04 am »

Yesterday, I travelled from home to Canford Crematorium in Bristol, connecting to the Severn Beach line at Bristol Temple Meads as far as Sea Mills and walking up from there.  A lovely day, and as I travelled I reflected on how busy the line was, how frequent the trains, and how much that has changed over the years thanks to the campaigns that Julie Boston, over many years, was a key (perhaps THE key) in with the Friends of Bristol Suburban Railways.  The crowd outside was substantial, and in the chapel all the seats were filled with many standing at the back.  Just a handful sombrely dressed; most of us were in maroon and red and pink as requested by Julie.  Which did not lessen the very clear love and memories from her family and their grief.

After the service, I walked back down to the station, took the train to Montpelier - busy even in the middle of the day - and with two ladies doing the same thing and we had a bite to eat on Gloucester Road before doing on to the wake nearby. And that was an even bigger event - half a dozen friends from FoSBR» (Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways - site), other friends from the walking group, but we were just a small, small segment of the huge gathering and we heard so many people talking in prose, poetry and song of Julie and her influences and memories.  Julie was very much a person of the people - very much on the left of politics, very much a campaigner for the under-considered and unfairly treated, and very much a person who inspired others and drew together a co-operative (team) for her projects.  And she did not hold back - she was very brave in campaigning in ways that were effective, but would have been outside the comfort level for many of us to lead, or indeed rather to the discomfort of those she was looking to (and often did!) influence. 

Julie and what FoSBR could achieve was one of the influencers that motivated our local campaign here in Wiltshire for an improved train service. She visited Melksham, walked with us in the carnival parade to help raise the cause, and was very much a respected member of our wider group of influencers. 

As I looked at the Severn Beach line yesterday, with its train every 30 minutes, significant flows of passengers on and off every service at every station even in the middle of the day, I see what can be achieved.  Here, we have moved up from 2 to 8 trains each way per day - from a useless service to a poor one every 2 hours and we need to follow Julie's ongoing lead up to an appropriate service level. She may have passed on, but the memories remain, the friendships with so many others linked, and the very concrete achievements which also remain and are been built on.  Thank You, Julie.

Gathering for the celebration of Julie's life in the afternoon. Click for an enlargement


Morning train to Sea Mills on its way to Severn Beach - waiting to board at Temple Meads


An afternoon train to Avonmouth calls at Montpelier
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