‘Chance Encounter’ – a tale of love and a day on the railway

Posted by Tina Seymour



The world premiere of a film in Minehead on Saturday 18th May raised more than £23,000 to help keep the wheels turning on our Mobile Cancer Care Units. Huge thanks to charity Patron Geoffrey Bray and his army of volunteers, sponsors and supporters who made it all possible.

Watched by a sell-out 400-strong audience at Minehead’s Regal Theatre, Chance Encounter’ is set in the late 1950s and is a gentle love story about a young couple who meet on a train one summer.

Using a combination of drone footage of what 1950s travellers would have seen during their journey, stations and footage of the West Somerset Railway line between Bishops Lydeard and Minehead as well as local actors and actresses and an army of extras, the world premiere was the culmination of a three-year project.

Involving steam railway experts and enthusiasts, local script writer and production director Lynn Pearson, Wiltshire-based film makers Angela and Roger Calcutt and members of the Minehead-based Barnstormers theatre group, whose chairman until her death earlier this year was Hilary May, a Hope for Tomorrow ambassador, ‘Chance Encounter’ was shot on location in and around west Somerset in summer 2018.

The film was the result of an idea developed by Geoffrey Bray, executive chairman of Corsham-based fleet management company Fleet Service Great Britain and a patron of Tetbury-headquartered Hope for Tomorrow, and the charity’s founder, Christine Mills, who died last year.

More than 160 people arrived for the film screening having travelled and enjoyed lunch on a West Somerset Railway steam train – the ‘Chance Encounter’. The train including the historic Quantock Belle dining coaches travelled along the restored 22-mile West Somerset Railway line from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back, through the beautiful Quantock Hills recreating the wonderful, nostalgic atmosphere of the great days of steam. The remainder of the Regal Theatre audience bought tickets for the premiere.

The screening was the culmination of a fantastic day that started for many of the audience with a trip down memory lane on a steam train from Bishops Lydeard with lunch – and tea on the return journey – prepared and cooked by chefs from Claire’s Kitchen, based in Wootton Courtenay, and Hywel Jones, the Michelin starred executive chef at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa.

Huge support for the ‘Chance Encounter’ project came from the south west stores of giant supermarket Tesco, which raised £7,000. The company’s Minehead store sponsored drinks served on the train journey by employee. Additionally, the family of Mrs May successfully bid £700 in a silent auction for the unique ‘Chance Encounter’ steam train headboard.

Copies of the ‘Chance Encounter’ DVD can be ordered online at: https://www.chanceencounterfilm.co.uk/order