The following is taken from the Peterborough Telegraph. Their copyright is acknowledged.
Tributes to a “remarkable” Reverend
The Rev Richard Paten, pictured in May, by the City of Peterborough steam engine
By Ken McErlain
Published on Sunday 22 July 2012 13:32
The Rev. Richard Paten, the man behind the Nene Valley Railway and Railworld in Peterborough has died, it has been confirmed today.
Rev Paten, who was 79, was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and it is believed that the illness was the cause of his death.
His name will forever be synonymous with Railworld and the city’s famous steam locomotive as well as family connections to the Peterborough Civic Society, which he was president of.
Toby Wood, a member of the Peterborough Civic Society, said: “I have known Richard for many years and he was a remarkable man.
“He achieved so much in his lifetime and was extremely well-known in Peterborough where he had many, many friends.
“He was the calmest and kindest man that I have ever met and he will be very much missed.”
Rev. Paten was born in 1932 and lived in Eastfield Road, Peterborough, the only boy of four children.
A bright student, he won a scholarship to Cambridge University to study engineering, later to become a chartered civil engineer.
It was as a graduate on his travels that his inspiration was sparked to bring an icon to Peterborough.
Travelling through America in 1955, Rev. Paten saw a mounted Southern Pacific steam locomotive and made it his mission to bring the iconic engine to Peterborough. The 14-year-old scrap engine was eventually brought to the city in 1968.
Despite not being allowed to travel, the beautiful black engine, numbered 73050, didn’t rest on its buffers.
It spent spells at various locations including the old railway station near London Road and Baker Perkins, and since then the engine – the starting point for the Nene Valley Railway – has probably brought millions of people to the city.
Rev Paten worked tirelessly for the volunteer-run railway, and was a former chairman and trustee for more than 20 years.
After setting up the Nene Valley Railway in 1985 he then purchased the old power station site, creating Railworld Sustainable Transport Centre and bringing in a treasure trove of rail artefacts, monuments and vehicles from across the planet.
He was also president of the city’s civic society, which was set up by his father in 1952 to give something back to the city from the family.
Rev. Paten has been a Rotarian since 1969, a member of Peterborough Environment City Trust (PECT) since 1993, and worked with the United Nations on environmental issues, travelling around the world to conferences.