"John Wesley" comes home on Wesley Day

At a ceremony at Methodist Church House in London yesterday, theRevd Dr Leslie Griffiths, The Lord Griffiths of Burry Port,unveiled the nameplate "John Wesley" from a High Speed Train (HST)power car.

24 May is celebrated in the Methodist Church as "Wesley Day" incommemoration of 24 May 1738 when John Wesley realised that God'slove was for all people. On that basis, Wesley began to preachacross the country and founded the Methodist movement.

The nameplate had previously been unveiled on a locomotive at StPancras Station on 24 May 1988 by Dame Thora Hird. It was attachedto British Rail HST power car No 43103 from 1988 to 1994. The powercar is still in service with Cross-Country trains as No 43303 andhas now travelled about 20 million miles. Power car No 43118 wasnamed Charles Wesley (after John's younger brother and famoushymn-writer) at the same time.

The Revd Dr Leslie Griffiths, the minister of Wesley's Chapel inLondon and a former President of the Methodist Conference, said:"John Wesley travelled over 250,000 miles in England on horseback -more than anyone else, until the coming of the railways forty yearsafter his death. The nameplate has travelled many miles and I'm sopleased that it has now reached a home where it will remind staffand visitors of the itinerant origins of Methodism."

The nameplate was found in a scrap bin in Edinburgh. It wasacquired by Mr Derek Brown and sold to Dr Ian Harrison, a prominentMethodist and Chairman of the South of England Group of the Friendsof the National Railway Museum. The Group has been given the taskof raising £35,000 to fund the cosmetic restoration of the Museum'ssteam locomotive "Winston Churchill". Mr Brown generously donatedthe purchase price to the restoration fund.

The nameplate will be on display at Methodist Church House for atleast the next five years. Ruth Pickles, The Vice-President ofConference, was also at the unveiling ceremony yesterday.

See images here.