Train conductor’s poetry unveiled at South Woodham Ferrers rail station

Published on: Wednesday, 19 June 2024
Last updated: Wednesday, 19 June 2024

Greater Anglia conductor, Graham Pettitt, with his poem at South Woodham Ferrers rail station.

Above: Greater Anglia conductor, Graham Pettitt, with his poem at South Woodham Ferrers rail station. Credit: ESSCRP

Poetry penned by a Greater Anglia train conductor has been unveiled at South Woodham Ferrers rail station in Essex.

Graham Pettit has been a conductor for 33 years and is inspired by the beautiful landscapes and sights on his daily travels through the Essex countryside, particularly on the Wickford – Southminster Crouch Valley Line, where South Woodham Ferrers station is located.

Three of his poems and artwork are on display in large poster boards and in the waiting room at South Woodham Ferrers station, thanks to the Essex & Suffolk Community Rail Partnership.

His latest poem, celebrating a sunset over South Woodham Ferrers, was unveiled on Tuesday on 4 June during the station’s first ‘Open Garden’ event.

On having his poems displayed at the station, Graham commented:

“I am absolutely delighted, shocked, and immensely grateful. I write my poems with what I see with my eyes and what I feel in my heart.

“I take inspiration from the Essex countryside and the animals I see - the soaring buzzard, the River Crouch, the cornucopia of colours in nature’s ever-changing palette available only to mother nature herself.”

The unveiling coincided with an Open Garden event at the station, organised by the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership and the station adopters, who were on hand to show the public the work they have been doing to make the station more attractive and wildlife friendly.

The volunteers at South Woodham Ferrers rail station - Angela Kellett, Bob Barnes, Ged Cooper, Freddie Knighton, Bernice Knighton, and Jenny Martin - are celebrating a decade of being station adopters this year.

Over the years, they have carried out many projects at the station including the installation of a talking bench and a history board. Both projects provide tourists with information about the area. The group have overseen the development of the station garden which includes a rose garden and a Platinum Jubilee tree. A free water dispenser to help keep passengers hydrated on their travels has also recently been installed. In addition, the team works with a local school to display artwork at the station.

They meet every Sunday to tend to the gardens, flowers tubs and platforms and water and dead head flowers daily to keep them in perfect condition.

Bob Barnes, station adopter, commented:

“The South Woodham Ferrers station adopters were delighted to host this Open Garden event and would like to say thank you to all our visitors, the Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, Greater Anglia, and our local community for all the support and encouragement they give us. And last, but not least, thank you to Graham for his wonderful poems and photographs.”

The team has been supported by the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership who have provided help and funding for projects over the years.

Jayne Sumner, Rail Engagement Manager for the Essex & South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership, said:

“It was a wonderful celebration of our station adopters during Volunteers Week. The volunteer team at South Woodham Ferrers are outstanding and we are so lucky to have them.

“It has been a real pleasure to work with them on so many varied projects and help bring their ideas for the station to fruition.

“I would like to thank them for their dedication and efforts which have greatly improved the station.”

Alan Neville, Customer and Community Engagement Manager, Greater Anglia, said:

“It is wonderful to see the support South Woodham Ferrers station enjoys from its community.

“I have no doubt that the station adopters’ efforts and this wonderful poetry and artwork by our own talented conductor, Graham, brings real delight to everyone who uses the station.”

Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption initiative is now in its 20th year and now has over 330 station adopters across the region.

The scheme enables individuals or groups to adopt their local railway station and contribute to its use and welfare for the benefit of their community. Station adopters work with Greater Anglia and, on some branch lines, also with the local community rail partnership, to bring about improvements or care for gardens and floral displays to benefit local wildlife and make stations more welcoming.

Greater Anglia provides funding to help station adopters cover the costs of small projects, such as the creation of station gardens and/or to purchase materials to help improve the station environment.

South Woodham Ferrers adopters with Graham Pettitt, Greater Anglia conductor (left).

Above: South Woodham Ferrers adopters with Graham Pettitt, Greater Anglia conductor (left). Credit: ESSCRP