If you ask any volunteer for the Kimberley Underground Mining Railway how one of Kimberley’s major tourist attractions was born, they would all answer “Bill Spence”.
Late last week, family friends and fellow railway volunteers gathered at the Kimberley United Church to honour the life of Bill Spence, who passed away on October 2, 2015 at the age of 94.
Mr. Spence was described as a visionary, a man with a great idea and the creativity, resourcefulness and drive to make it work.
The idea was the Mining Railway, and Bill Spence was in on it from the beginning in 1978, when he and a small group went to an abandoned mine at Salmo to obtain rails for the project.
Spence lovingly cared for and maintained the locomotives (locis) in the mechanical shop near the powerhouse in the Mark Creek Valley. If it was broke, Bill fixed it.
Mr. Spence was passionate about Kimberley and one of the legendary volunteers that built the city into what it is today.