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

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

He visits Newmarket station four times a day to keep an eye on things and sweeps the platforms so much that he has worn out his broom.

Now, Michael Baldwin, station adopter, has been described as an ‘unsung hero’ by train operator, Greater Anglia and recognised with an award.

He beat 45 other nominees from across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire to win a Judge’s Special Award at Greater Anglia’s 2018 Adopter Awards (Friday 12th October).

Michael is the ‘eyes and ears’ of Newmarket station, checking that everything is ship-shape and in working order and reporting problems to Greater Anglia when needed. He also attends on race days to ensure everything is running smoothly.

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.

A couple who dedicate their time to keeping Cambridgeshire’s wildlife thriving were also recognised with an award.

Philip and Kathryn Ball won the ‘Best Personal Contribution Award’ for their unique and dedicated approach to nature gardening at Shelford station, which is helping to record and protect local wildlife, and helping the rail station to become a wildlife haven.

Since becoming station adopters Philip and Kathryn have kept detailed records of all the plants at the station, even wild ones, and observed the impact that they have on butterfly and moth populations and other wildlife.

The records and photography are then displayed in the waiting room for all to see and Kathryn even introduces the children she works with to the project.

Other winners of the 2018 awards include:

  • David and Ann Taylor of Bures station who were given a Judges Special Award for tending to the station for almost 40 years.
  • Hockley’s 18-strong University of the Third Age adopter team won the Best Adopter Group award for transforming the local rail station into a ‘vision of loveliness’.
  • Husband and wife team, Paul and Katherine Howarth were also recognised with the ‘Best Staffed Station’ award for their work to create beautiful gardens at Burnham On Crouch which are subtropical in appearance thanks to the area’s micro climate. They were also praised for their efforts to promote the railway in the community and creating a leaflet about local walks from the station.
  • Gary Miller won the ‘Best Newcomer’ award for his hard work transforming Braintree rail station platforms with many stunning planters.
  • A team of local volunteers who opened a museum in a redundant building at Reedham rail station to tell the story of the first railway in Norfolk were also recognised with the station winning the ‘Best Small Station’ award.Catherine Ford, Colin Brown, Mike Stoker, Mike Warner and Ann Thompson have also worked hard to transform the station gardens and hold community events at the station such as Macmillan coffee mornings and carol services.
  • Mother and son team, Arlette and Emile Eno-Daynes won the Best Medium station award for their work at Stowmarket station to plant and care for beautiful flower tubs on the platforms for passengers to enjoy.
  • Also recognised was the team at Park Radio who won the Best Community Involvement award for their work at Diss rail station in creating a garden area and attractive planters along the platforms.
  • Bury St Edmunds was named the ‘Most Improved’ station after new adopters, Jane Chave and Andreas Johnson, worked with local garden centres to transform the platforms with stunning planters.
  • Martin Moran, Greater Anglia’s Commercial and 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.”