The Cheshire Best Kept Station Awards have gone Virtual for 2020 ….
The Cheshire Best Kept Stations Awards have gone virtual for its 18th Awards Evening because of the pandemic.
The 30 minute video, which was launched on YouTube on Tuesday 24th November 2020 was introduced by Jools Townsend, the Chief Executive of Community Rail Network, hosted by Cheshire Best Kept Stations Chair Mark Barker and concluded with a salutary thank you by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs.
Filmed at Hadlow Road, a preserved former Cheshire station now on the Wirral Way, 18 awards were made with 10 commendations.
On the Mid Cheshire Line, these included awards to Greenbank, Plumley and Knutsford with Delamere and Altrincham and railway station being highly commended. Jon Leigh from Hale Station also won a personal commendation.
An award was presented to Greenbank Station for efforts made by the Friends of Greenbank Station which included a ‘Lest We Forget’ mural and a Garden of Peace and Reflection for those lost in conflict.
Plumley station won an award for their colourful garden which had been seeded out by local village volunteers and the addition of their new waiting shelter seat which is in keeping with the station.
Knutsford station’s award goes to the local Friends Group that look after the planters and beds at the station on a regular basis. With four fixed wall mangers, filled with perennial and seasonal planting, the station approach is now a welcome to local passengers.
Delamere station was highly commended for the “Petty Pool Petals” project in which the students from the college designed and produced brightly painted wooden flowers and fixed them to the fence at the station.
Altrincham Interchange was highly commended for bringing together multiple operators and stakeholders to improve this large interchange.
John Leigh from Hale Station won a personal commendation for his work on the heritage railway bench at Hale and also for his work on the heritage benches at Mobberley and Mouldsworth.
On the Crewe to Liverpool Line Winsford station won an award and Crewe station was highly commended.
The award for Winsford station was for the five art panels on the station created by Cross-hatch Community Gallery and Makerspace with help from primary schools across Winsford.
Crewe Station was highly commended for its Calm Corner which is a room for passengers with hidden disabilities and provides them with a calm and quite environment.
On introducing the Awards, Jools Townsend, the Chief Executive of Community Rail Network said:
“The awards are all about recognising the huge amount of work, passion and enthusiasm that you all put into your stations. “
“It is much more than brightening up stations: It is about bringing people together. It is about health and wellbeing. It is about social inclusion and community cohesion. It is about bringing stations into the heart of their community and creating a sense of familiarity, positivity and ownership towards the railway. “
“All of this is doubly important at the moment as we come through this great challenge we are facing through the pandemic as we are seeking to help our communities and railway to recover and build back better.”
On announcing the Awards, Mark Barker, Chair of Cheshire Best Kept Stations said:
“Despite all the changes that we have all had to make this year, some things have not changed: The work that Station Friends and Community Groups do to make their stations welcoming gateways is brilliant. Yes, their work was disrupted, but they carried on doing what they could, keeping in touch with each and their communities, and planning for the future.
“Their energy and enthusiasm has continued despite the difficulties of the year. We were determined that we would celebrate, promote, and honour their work, as we have done for eighteen years. So we had to go virtual.
“We have given 18 Awards and 10 Highly Commended in one category, the 2020 Special Award. We have not announced an overall Winner as normal, because in this difficult year, every Station Friends Group and Station is a winner, whether they received an Award or not.
“Our sincere thanks go to all volunteers and railway staff for their achievements in these challenging times and look forward to better in 2021.”
Mr David Briggs, the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire on closing the awards said:
“It is always a pleasure to attend the Cheshire Best Kept Station Awards.
“It allows me to thank all those volunteers who keep our stations fit for purpose and pleasing places to visit remembering all volunteering is investing in our future.
“Also it is the only night of the year in our county when Cheshire returns to its ancient boundaries and Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and the Wirral come back to their old Cheshire roots.
“Our country would be a very different place if was not for the goodwill of thousands of volunteers and station groups are members of that truly wonderful team.
“Never have you been so important as this year when links into our community are of the utmost importance.”
The awards event can be viewed on the Cheshire Best Kept Stations YouTube Channel or by visiting bestkeptstations.org.uk