Cambs’ community ‘heroes’ recognised for station voluntary work

October 21, 2019

A community group dedicated to bringing disused railway buildings back to life has been recognised with an award.

The Friends of March station received the Judge’s Special Award at Greater Anglia’s Station Adoption Awards on Friday 11 October.

The Friends have spent over a decade fundraising and carrying out works to restore and reopen disused parts of March railway station, on the line between Ely and Peterborough, so far successfully restoring one room to become a permanent model railway exhibition.

For the last three years, they have also opened the station buildings up during Heritage Open Days weekends to showcase the work they do as station adopters and raise money for further improvements.

Adrian Sutterby, who leads the Friends, commented: “I like to say a big thank you for all the help and support over the last ten years from my volunteers, Greater Anglia, the Hereward Community Rail Partnership and Network Rail. Without them the group would not be where we are today – with a strong group and looking forward to next 10 years.

“No words can really describe how I felt on Friday – very surprised, I certainly never expected it and it was a very happy group when I got back to March. The amount of well wishes on the social media was overwhelming.

“The certificate will have pride of place in the community room.”

Also recognised was Geoff Howes, the adopter of Whittlesea rail station, who was named ‘Best Newcomer’ for being a great ambassador for the railway – not only planting and looking after flowers on the station but being there every day helping people with things like ticket purchasing, encouraging rail travel, promoting rail travel in the local community and suggesting ideas for improvements.

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.

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

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.”