Essex’s community ‘heroes’ recognised for station voluntary work

Monday, 16 October 2017

They meet every Sunday come rain or shine to tidy up their local rail station and tend to the flowers they have planted there. Now, the volunteer group at South Woodham Ferrers has been crowned ‘Best Adopter Group’ by train operator Greater Anglia for their outstanding team work and commitment.

Bernice Knighton, Bob Barnes, Chris and Angela Kellett, Freddie Knighton and Hillary Large beat 45 other nominees from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire at Greater Anglia’s 2017 Adopter Awards, held at Ipswich Town Football Club today (Friday 13th 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.

Many other community volunteers in Essex were also recognised including husband and wife team, Barry and Sue Hammick, who along with Frank Belgrove, are credited with making Alresford station among the ‘most improved’ on the train operator’s network, transforming an overgrown and derelict area into a garden that the judges described as ‘an oasis of tranquility, with vibrancy and colour that is second to none’.

Sherry Ann Hodgson and Pam Schomberg at Colchester station were also recognised for starting up a book swap library in the waiting room and creating stunning flower displays at the station, while Julia and Herman Prigg and Sue Robinson and Georgeta Busuioc, were praised for creating beautifully landscaped gardens at Wrabness and Harwich Town stations which are enjoyed by the whole community.

Adopters from across the region were recognised in categories including Best Community Project, Best Small Station, Best Adopter Group, and Most Improved Station.

Andrew Goodrum, Greater Anglia’s Customer Service Director, said: “Our station adopters are real community heroes who give so much time and 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.”