Community rail volunteers recognised at awards ceremony

Published on: Wednesday, 10 November 2021
Last updated: Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Greater Anglia has recognised its ‘very special’ volunteers who have been working to bring their local rail stations to the heart of their communities.

The annual Station Adoption Awards ceremony was held on Friday, 15 October.

Trevor Garrod, adopter of Buckenham rail station and well-known rail ambassador, received the Judges’ Special Award for dedication to his local railway.

Trevor was praised for his invaluable knowledge and experience and for his enthusiasm for improving and promoting railway lines in Norfolk and Suffolk.

He regularly volunteers at Lowestoft station’s tourism hub, helps with heritage open days there, leads guided walks from stations and, as a committed campaigner for better integrated transport links, he is currently putting together a booklet about rail and cycle connections in the area.

Trevor is also Chair of the East Suffolk Line Community Rail Partnership’s Line Group North, helping to promote the railway, fund projects and drive forward improvements.

image of Trevor Garrod
Above: Trevor Garrod

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said “Trevor is an invaluable member of the Station Adoption initiative bringing such a wealth of knowledge and experience and so much enthusiasm for our local branch lines. I would like to thank him on behalf of Greater Anglia and all our community rail partners for his hard work and unwavering commitment.”

Greg Chandler, adopter of Brundall Gardens station, won the ‘Personal Contribution’ award for his commitment to Brundall Gardens station and the Station Adoption initiative as a whole.

As well as helping to keep the station gardens looking immaculate, Greg has also recently taken on an enhanced role in his capacity as a committee member of the Wherry Lines Community Rail Partnership which will see him act as co-ordinator for all the adopters along the Norwich – Great Yarmouth / Lowestoft route.

Image of Greg Chandler
Above: Greg Chandler

Sandy Burns, Laura Hadgraft and Yvonne Maynard, adopters at Westerfield station won the ‘Innovation and Environmental’ award for their work to establish a large wildlife area alongside the platforms, planting over 200 native plants including perennials, grasses and wildflower seed.

Informational lecterns were installed in partnership with the Suffolk Butterfly Conservation Trust and Friends of the Earth to help people identify the bees and butterflies they spot.

The 1st Westerfield Cubs also planted herbs in a specially made planter on the platform for local people to help themselves.

Laura Hadgraft, Sandy Burns and Yvonne Maynard in a group pose
Above: Laura Hadgraft, Sandy Burns and Yvonne Maynard.

Frank Belgrove, volunteer station adopter at Alresford station, was highly commended for his personal contribution to Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative, which sees people getting involved with their local rail station to help bring about improvements for their communities.

Frank has been a station adopter for many years, leading a team of volunteers who have brought the rail station into the heart of Alresford’s community by establishing extensive gardens and even a small orchard alongside the platforms.

Recently Frank also worked with Greater Anglia, the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and Network Rail on a campaign to reduce air pollution in the community by asking car drivers to switch off their engines when waiting at the village’s level crossing.

image of Frank Belgrove
Above: Frank Belgrove

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said, “Frank has fostered great links between the community and the station and is a great organiser - which really shows through the effectiveness of the adopter group, the huge amount of work they do and the amazing things they are achieving at the station.”

Other winners included:
Sue Cox, Julie Reynolds and Michael Barnard, adopters of Somerleyton station were highly commended in this category for the love and care they bestow on the station gardens and their commitment to wildlife friendly gardening

The team at Cantley were named the Best Adopter Group for their years of hard work and dedication to creating glorious gardens at the station and for their perpetually high standards that mean the station always looks lovely and is a delight for visitors.

Mike Hall, Greater Anglia Welcome Host at Norwich station, was praised for volunteering to help station adopters Pat and Ros Meo at Lingwood station to help keep the planting and flower displays in great condition. This led to the station winning the Best Small Station award.

Pat Meo and Mike Hall at Lingwood station
Above: Pat Meo and Mike Hall

The Friends of Rayleigh station won the Community involvement award for their plans to establish a new community garden at Rayleigh station using disused land adjacent to it, and for their community consultation that sought to find out resident’s views on what facilities and planting the garden should have.

Kerry King and Martin Rayner were named the ‘Best Newcomers’. They recently adopted Manningtree station and swung into action restoring and repainting tired woodwork, installing floral displays and bird boxes, raised funds for improvements and worked with Greater Anglia to find a solution for watering the flower tubs on the long platforms.

Roydon was named the ‘Best Medium Station’ recognising the efforts of its station adopter group, who, over the last four years, have transformed the station with the installation of flower tubs, window boxes, hanging baskets and a small garden to the delight of the community.

Ely was named the ‘Best Staffed Station’ after volunteers and Greater Anglia staff brought the platforms to life with new floral displays and established a wildlife garden.

The station adopters at Whittlesford Parkway were highly commended in the ‘Best Adopter Group’ category for transforming the station with a stunning new flower border alongside the platform, which was designed by Scotsdale Garden Centre.

St Margaret’s rail station was named the ‘Most Improved’ on Greater Anglia’s network.

It has been transformed thanks to the work of volunteers, Robin and Rosemary Jewett, who have decked the station with window boxes and floral displays, making a real difference and helping to build links between the station and the community.

Hertford East was highly commended, after members of the Mudlarks charity, working in partnership with the New River Line Community Rail Partnership, installed six large planters at the station which they filled with attractive floral displays to provide a warm welcome to people as they arrive at the station.

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said: “Our station adopters are very special people who achieve amazing things to benefit their communities and make them better places to live with their enthusiasm to bring rural stations to life and restore their links to the communities they serve

“The adopters know their stations and the needs of their community well and we are happy to support their aims through small grants and facilitating improvements.

“I am delighted that we can also recognise and thank them through the Adopter Awards - we’ve seen some fantastic and innovative projects this year despite the pandemic and I would like to thank them all for their continued hard work.”