Norfolk and Suffolk’s community ‘heroes’ recognised for station voluntary work

Published on: Friday, 18 October 2019
Last updated: Friday, 18 October 2019

Community volunteers in Norfolk and Suffolk have been recognised for transforming their local rail stations.

They include the team who adorned Lowestoft station who helped with a major regeneration project there, and a group of residents at Reedham who have made the rail station the hub of the community and raised money for various charities.

They were recognised at Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption Awards, held on Friday 11 October.

Jacqui Dale, Station Adopter at Lowestoft and Tim Miller who volunteers across a number of local rail routes, received recognition for their efforts in support of the station’s ongoing regeneration project, which has included the restoration and conversion of the former station Parcels Office into a new public exhibition space, helping with a host of special events and tending to a multitude of floral displays

At Reedham, the station group won the ‘Community Involvement Award’ following the superb efforts of adopters Ann Thompson and Pauline O’Connor who have arranged a number of events and activities, raising hundreds of pounds for local charities.

They have helped to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Norfolk railway with a tea party, held an event to raise money for the East Coast Truckers childrens’ charity, took part in the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning and organised the annual station Carol Concert, while at the same time promoting rail travel locally and helping with adoption work and events at other nearby stations.

Also recognised were Greg and Maggie Chandler, Tom Adams and Gillian Westall who won the ‘Best Small Station’ award for their work at Brundall Gardens, which also saw the local Co-Op donate eight planters, and for the newsletter which they produced and delivered to the community to highlight what they have achieved there.

Highly commended in this category were Sue Cox and Michael Chandler who have been looking after Somerleyton station for a combined total of 40 years.

Sue lives at the Station House and has tended to the gardens there since 1991. She knows every plant, has logged them all, and encouraged plants which attract lots of different wildlife to provide a habitat for birds, small mammals and insects which also looks stunning.

15 years ago Sue spotted Michael on the opposite platform, got to know him and now they work together as station adopters on their respective platforms, co-operating all the time.

During the Awards, both the Somerleyton and Cantley adopter teams were also presented with National Community Rail Award certificates in recognition of their ongoing efforts.

Westerfield was named the ‘Most Improved Station’ thanks to the work of its new adopter, Sandy Burn, who has transformed the station with tubs of flowers and the installation of a new perennial area on the bank next to the platform.

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 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.”