The vicar of the church that became a casualty centre on the night of the train crash has opened up about the extraordinary experience.

The Reverend Andy Bousfield, Vicar at St Mark’s Church, was called by a police officer at around 7.30pm on the evening of the collision (October 31), asking if he could open up his church for the victims.

At around 6.45pm, two trains carrying a total of 92 passengers had collided at a junction approaching Fisherton Tunnel, the impact of which caused carriages to derail.

Many were injured, but there were no fatalities.

Less than an hour later, the Reverend was sitting down to “a nice evening off” at home, after finishing a busy day of church duties, when he received the call.

He sent a message to churchwarden Jo King, who then alerted other members.

While four church members came to help, others prayed over the incident at home.

Reverend Andy Bousfield said: “I was there in about five minutes or so after being called by an officer, and was able to open up, put the heating on and stick the kettle on.

“We have been meeting café-style since being back after the Covid break, so it was ideal really.

“We just stuck the kettle on and we were ready to go. We didn’t have to rearrange the place.”

The church volunteers served tea and coffee and biscuits to the injured, while emergency services assessed the passengers, and took a record of each person who was there, where they had been starting and finishing their journeys, and how they would be able to get home.

He added: “We just needed to provide tea and coffee and be non-authority people there to chat.

“For those of us who were there at the time, it just felt like the most natural thing to do.

“When they were coming up for tea and coffee and a biscuit, we noticed their injuries. It took a while for us to notice that people weren’t just in shock but some people had actually been hurt from the incident.

“For the church to be used in this way, is a privilege, and it’s what we’re here for.”

The vicar added that he was grateful for the help of local residents, who brought refreshments and blankets.

One resident even organised a delivery of seven pizzas to the church.

“Around 10.30pm, a pizza delivery turned up with about seven pizzas, which, because most people had been processed and were leaving by then, we were able to give to the emergency services, and they were incredibly grateful.

“I would like to say a big thank you to the community for rallying around.

“It was really a community effort that meant we were able to care for the people coming through our doors that night.”

Salisbury Journal:

The church, on St Mark's Avenue

Incident Commander Wayne Jones of Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has also opened up about his experience, as one of the 50 firefighters attending the crash.

Read more: Salisbury train crash rescue efforts shared by firefighter

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