TRIBUTES have been paid to renowned Peak District steam enthusiast, entrepreneur and businessman Dr Tony Marchington, who died on Sunday at the age of 55.
Raised in Buxworth, Dr Marchington was a former ICI executive and well-known in biotechnology circles for co-founding the scientific research company Oxford Molecular.
But he was perhaps better known locally for his involvement with steam preservation, and as a former owner of the Flying Scotsman.
Dr Marchington purchased the famous LNER Class A3 4472 steam locomotive in 1996 for £1.5 million, and spent another £1 million over the next three years restoring it at workshops in Southall, West London.
Under his ownership, the Flying Scotsman made its return to steam in 1999 on the line between King’s Cross and York, and also made appearances locally, firstly on Peak Rail, and also at steam fairs in Hartington, having been transported along the narrow Peak District roads on a low-loader.
The great British icon was eventually purchased in 2004 by the National Railway Museum in York, following a high-profile national campaign.
Geoff Courtney, who worked closely with Dr Marchington while handling the publicity for the Flying Scotsman, described him as a “larger than life character, a showman in every sense of the word who loved every minute of it”.
Mr Courtney added: “When he heard the Flying Scotsman was facing an uncertain future, he didn’t hesitate to step in to purchase it.
“A lot of people would say that, if it wasn’t for him, the loco wouldn’t have returned to mainline steam.
“The world of railway preservation owes him an awful lot.”
A fan of steam traction engines from an early age, he helped set-up the Buxworth Steam Group and was a driving force behind steam events in the village.
Dr Marchington, who studied at Brasenose College in Oxford and was a Fellow of St Edmund Hall, lived in Biggin-by-Hartington.
He died at Buxton’s Cottage Hospital on Sunday, and leaves his wife Caroline and four children.
l For enquiries regarding the funeral arrangements, contact Bernard Kenney Funeral Service on 01298 26421.