A FUNDRAISER that was set up following the theft of a safe containing up to £14,000 from the Blaenavon Heritage Railway has reached more than £6,000.

The money raised will be used to help repair damage caused to the volunteer-run heritage railway and to help replace the £14,000 stolen.

Railway chairman Phil Tiley said that the volunteers at the railway were blown away by the support they have received from the public, which has included offers to donate raffle prizes and offers of services to help the railway get back up and running.

He said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response. It seems that people are sympathetic to our cause. They realise that our volunteers have worked so hard.

“It’s really uplifting in the sense that people care so much. We are very grateful to those who have contributed to the fundraiser.”

Last week, after the conclusion of the railway's Hallowe'en Ghost Train event, thieves broke in to the railway's booking centre and stole a safe containing up to £14,000.

Mr Tiley said: “This is our biggest event of the year. We rely on the ghost train to keep us running throughout the rest of the year. It’s a real shock to us all. We’re all really upset.

“We had our ghost train event this week. The money was put in the safe in the booking office.

“The person who broke in broke through the platform doors and he got in to the booking office. He must have seen the camera as he went and turned it around.

“He wrenched out the safe that that was secured to the floor. There was about £14,000 in there, which was about two nights takings from the ghost train.”

Mr Tiley also emphasised that the railway would not be beaten by this, and would remain open as usual for their upcoming events.

“We are preparing now for Santa. We’ve got to carry on for the children that are looking forward to the Steam Santa Specials event.”

A spokeswoman for Gwent Police said: “At approximately 10.10am on Thursday, November 1, 2018 we received a report of a burglary at The Railway Station, Garn Lakes in Blaenavon.

“Sometime between 10pm on October 31, 2018 and 9.45am on November 1, 2018 entry was gained via force to a door and a silver steel safe was stolen. The safe had been bolted to the wall and the floor and had cash inside to the estimated value of £12,000 to £14,000.

“At this time enquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to please call 101 quoting log 189 01/11/18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800555111.”

The railway are hoping that the cash that was taken and the damages caused will be covered by their insurance, but reassured people that the money raised would be put to good use.

In a post on the Blaenavon Heritage Railway Facebook page, one volunteer said: "We’re hoping our insurance will cover everything.

"However, the money raised though this will go towards our winter fund, adding extra security systems to the railway, such as upgrading our CCTV and alarm systems."

The Free Press is encouraging everyone to support the fundraiser for the volunteer-run Heritage Railway in any way that you can.

The railway has already received donations for a 'Railways Raffle', and any further donations can be made at the railway shop in Broad Street, Blaenavon.

Other offers included offers of services from local people and businesses to help the railway get back up and running, including fixing the damages and redecorate.

If you are holding a fundraiser for the railway, or are looking to help out, please get in touch.