Appeals

The disused signal-box at Crawley, West Sussex. The box, which is listed, is thought to have been built between 1862 and 1882 and is the last remaining building of what was Crawley's Victorian railway station, demolished in 1968. The Crawley Signal-box Preservation Society Committee is raising funds to ensure the future of the building and plans to restore the dilapidated box into a small railway museum, writes Joanna Gibbon.

The railway first came to Crawley in February 1848 when the London, Brighton & South Coast Railway Company opened a branch line from Horsham to Three Bridges. Rural Crawley was transformed into a large town: Mark Lemon, the first editor of Punch,moved there in 1857 and commuted each day to his office in Bouverie Street, London, in just over one hour.

The signal-box was made redundant in 1978 when the mechanism for the railway gates was changed; new gates were installed and the signal-box's Victorian wheels and levers removed. The Crawley Museum Society - which administers the restored Water Mill, at nearby Ifield, and Crawley Museum Centre - formed a separate preservation society committee: a lease from British Rail is under negotiation and an estimated pounds 50,000 is needed to restore the building - with levers and wheels upstairs and with a local railway museum downstairs. The society hopes to complete the project by 1998, marking the 150th anniversary of the railway's opening.

For further information, contact: Roger Bastable, Chairman, Crawley Signal-Box Preservation Society Committee, Crawley Museum Society, 166 Southgate Drive, Southgate, Crawley, West Sussex RH10 6EX, telephone 0293 535235.

Minchinhampton Centre for the Elderly is a project aimed at helping the elderly of Minchinhampton, in Gloucestershire, to live full and active lives in familiar surroundings. The centre will accommodate 30 people in sheltered housing and will be a day centre for many more. So far a site has been bought in Minchinhampton but the building work has not begun: pounds 300,000 has been raised of the total pounds 1.25m needed. A fund- raising Country Fayre with Morris dancing, a wind quintet, street organs, dog obedience displays and stalls is planned to take place in Minchinhampton's high street at 2pm on Saturday 12 September.

Minchinhampton Centre for the Elderly, 11a Tetbury Street, Minchinhampton, Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 9JS, telephone 0453 731227.

Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre provides information and support to women and girls who have been sexually assaulted. It gives telephone counselling on a part-time basis: since increasing the hours in May the centre has had double the amount of callers. It also gives face-to-face counselling, organises a rape survivors' group and liaises with the Incest Survivors' Group. Last year the centre helped 200 women, although it suspects many more could come forward. At present the centre, which is run by volunteers, is partly funded by local and district authorities. In the future it needs to become more self-sufficient: it is appealing for pounds 35,000 to employ two full-time staff and to expand its services.

Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, PO Box 120, Brunswick Road, Edinburgh EH7 5XX, telephone 031- 556 9437.

The Independent welcomes details of appeals from readers. They should be sent in writing (no more than 100 words) to Joanna Gibbon, Gazette, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB (fax 071-956 9358). Please include a daytime telephone number.

(Photograph omitted)

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