During the summer we have had an intern from the University of Reading, Maddi Bunn, working with us and this is Maddi’s account of her time with us.

“In my internship at Didcot Railway Centre, I have spent eight weeks creating a nature guide to help make the most of the wonderful plants and animals that are found at the centre and to encourage visitors to engage with nature.

"I spent several weeks identifying the plants, insects, birds and animals that could be found with the help of Mike Hurst, a volunteer with plenty of knowledge about the centre’s natural history.

"Once I knew what was at the centre, I decided the best way to go about the project was by creating a nature identification booklet.

"The booklet contains information and pictures of different flowers, trees, animals, insects and birds that are found and allows visitors to tick off species as they find them.

"It is intended as an activity that can be completed by anyone whether it’s a family working together or a couple of train enthusiasts filling in the booklet between looking at the other attractions.

"During the creation of the nature guide I had a lot of help from a variety of people.

"Jami Arthurton spent a very warm afternoon at the centre taking photos of some of the flowers and trees to be used in the guide; Roger Wyatt gave me a tour of the local Withymead Nature Reserve, of which he is a ranger, as well as providing a number of his photos of birds, insects and animals to be used in the guide.

"The picture on the front cover of the guide was very kindly provided by a volunteer at the centre, Frank Dumbleton. Fay Rayner is a graphic design student from the University of Reading and she designed the booklet.

"I was made to feel like part of the team by all the lovely volunteers and members of staff. I had many opportunities to enjoy the centre as if I was a visitor and was even allowed to ride on the footplate of a steam train which was an amazing experience. I was also invited to attend a networking event which gave me a real insight into the business side of the railway centre and allowed me to connect with people that would later help me with the printing of the booklets.

"I have learnt a lot while working at the railway centre and feel my confidence and skills in communicating with people have greatly improved. This has been a fantastic experience where I have both enjoyed myself and learnt something new every day.

"I feel very lucky to have had this opportunity."