THE family of Burnley rail campaigner Mr Graham Nuttall – found dead on moors in Wales with his Border collie Ruswarp alive by his side after 11 weeks – have backed a campaign to create a statue of the heroic dog.
In the 1980s, Mr Nuttall and Colne man Mr David Burton launched the campaign to save the Settle-Carlisle railway line, which was under threat of closure. Today, the line is busier than ever, open 24 hours a day.
Mr Nuttall, from Duke Bar, became the first secretary of the Friends of the Settle-Carlisle Line. His tragic story cast a shadow over the Friends' early days, but proved an inspiration, too.
He and faithful Ruswarp – pronounced "Russup" – were inseparable.
Mr Nuttall lived just long enough to see the line's reprieve in 1989, for on January 20th, 1990, he went missing. He and Ruswarp got day return tickets from Burnley to Llandrindod Wells to go walking in the Welsh mountains. But Mr Nuttall never returned.
His body was found on April 7th by a mountain stream. Nearby was Ruswarp, so weak the 14-year-old dog had to be carried off the mountain. He had stayed with his master's body for 11 winter weeks.
Ruswarp lived just long enough to attend Mr Nuttall's funeral.
A plaque was put up at Burnley railway station and there is a dedication on a platform bench at Garsdale station on the Settle-Carlisle line which is about to be restored and a life-size bronze statue of Ruswarp will take pride of place.
The sculpture will cost 8,000 and an appeal has been launched. If you would like to contribute to the Ruswarp memorial fund, send cheques, payable to The Ruswarp Memorial Fund, to Friends project officer Josie Perriman, at Foresters Cottage, 2 Howson's Yard, Settle BD24 2EG.
You can contribute online by clicking on Ruswarp Appeal at the Friends' web shop at www.settle-carlisle.com