TRAIN operator c2c Rail and the Tilbury Forum joined forces to offer the town's residents a free trip to the seaside.

More than 120 passengers, aged from just seven weeks to 70 plus, enjoyed a free private train to and from Southend as a special summer day out on DS. Many of the group spent the day on the beach with an ice cream, while others took the chance to hit the High Street.

c2c Station Manager Julie Davis said: "We’ve been working very closely with Tilbury Forum over the last couple of years, and they maintain the beautiful flower beds at Tilbury Town station for us.

"As the local train operator, it’s important to us that we support local groups and the excellent work they do to help the thriving local community. Providing this free train was part of that support, and we’re really glad everyone had such a great time."

Yewande Kannike, Project Director of One Community, said: "A fantastic day was had by all, especially as some of the local people had never been to Southend-on-Sea before. We had a rare treat courtesy of c2c that many will remember for a long time, especially 8-year-old Mary, whose birthday it was on the day, and she had a special mention from our train driver in addition to an already exciting day."