Essex community rail volunteers recognised for ‘amazing’ work to transform stations into gardens

Thursday, 22 October 2020

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

Across the county local people have banded together to tackle unloved areas of their local stations, transforming them with stunning floral displays or creating gardens from wastelands to create a source of community pride.

They include Julie Nassau, Jill Deighton, Holly Nairn and Trevor Barnwell of Roydon who have won accolades from the village for their efforts to plant hanging baskets and containers – which they built themselves – that now adorn the station, as well as developing a new garden area for local people to enjoy.

Woman wearing face covering and watering plants

Also recognised were Stephen Scrase and Katherine Beck who have recently ‘adopted’ Grade II listed Chappel & Wakes Colne station. They recruited a small team to help them install and maintain attractive planters on the platforms and hope to hold community events in the future.

Walton-on-the-Naze was commended as one of the ‘most improved’ stations after local residents Jean Legg, Sandra Barnes and George Sparkes ‘adopted’ the station in February and set to work installing planters and developing a garden area which have made a real difference to the station, as well as building a positive relationship with the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership which helps to promote and support the branch line on which the station sits.

Alison Nichols was praised for her efforts to maintain attractive planters along Manningtree stations’ extremely long platforms, which made watering a challenge. Despite this Alison struggled on alone and undeterred, until Greater Anglia stepped in with a solution, providing her with a new water carrier on wheels so that she can now tend to her plants and pots much more easily.

At Marks Tey station, Maureen Collen, Brenda Hall and Corinne Sermons have transformed many areas of the station including platform banks and the area near the ticket office with their lovely floral displays, creating a warm welcome for everyone who uses the station.

Gary Miller was also praised for achieving stunning floral displays at Braintree station for a third year.

They were all recognised at Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption Awards, held virtually on Friday 16 October.

Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative sees local people across the network get involved with their local stations to come up with ideas and projects that benefit their communities.

Alan Neville, Greater Anglia’s Customer and Community Engagement Manager, said: "Our station adopters are very special people to 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 and I would like to thank them all for their continued hard work."